Sturton le Steeple: Project will uncover secrets at former Roman settlement

Parish council at Roman Archaeologists site  L>R Bob Fleming Parish Cllr, David Langmead, Clerk to Parish Council
Parish council at Roman Archaeologists site L>R Bob Fleming Parish Cllr, David Langmead, Clerk to Parish Council

A new project is aiming to unearth the secrets behind what is believed to be Nottinghamshire’s largest Roman settlement.

Archaeologists from Notts County Council have been working with Sturton-le-Steeple Parish Council to better understand the environment and way of life for people living in the former Roman town of Segelocum, modern day Littleborough, to the east of Retford on the River Trent.

Segelocum is thought to have been the largest of our five known Roman towns in the county.

Part of the town lies beneath what is currently a farmer’s field. Crop marks in the field have clearly shown the outline of roads and buildings in the past and a number of items have been recovered from the site during previous archaeological work, including pots and metal objects which are stored in the Bassetlaw Museum.

Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery fund, the Parish Council has secured a £36,000 grant which will be used to carry out a geophysical study of the former town along with fieldwalking and digging test pits in village gardens to examine how the area around the town developed.

Karen Howard, Chair of Sturton Le Steeple Parish Council, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to secure funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support this project.

“We know that there is a lot of interest amongst local residents, and we are particularly pleased to receive support from the local primary schools and neighbouring Parish Councils.

“We are all now looking forward to getting stuck in to discover for ourselves more of the Roman heritage on our side of the River Trent.”

The geophysical work, which will include the use of specialist equipment to scan the remains under the field and construct an image of the layout of Segelocum, is set to begin next month.

The fieldwalking and test pits are likely to be carried out next Spring, with local volunteers invited to work alongside Notts County Council archaeologists on the scheme.

Lorraine Horsley, community archaeologist at Notts County Council, said: “This is a really exciting project which will help to lift the lid on what life was like in Nottinghamshire’s largest Roman town.

“Many of the previous studies on Roman life have centred on major cities or large villas, but this project will give us a fascinating insight into the lives of people from all walks of life, giving us a better understanding of where and how they lived, worked and interacted.

“It’s fantastic that the local community will be so heavily involved in this project.”