Essex Archaeological and History Society conducted a small-scale dig in Henham in 1989 and identified two sites of Roman occupation. Richard Havis (now Senior Archaeological Development Control Officer of the Historic Environment Branch of Essex County Council ) was involved in that excavation and wrote a technical report of that excavation, associated finds and interpretations. The site is commonly known to us today as Henham Fishing Lake.

We recently re-discovered that report on the internet. It is that paper that has led directly to this present exhibition. Richard’s description is that one site was part of a probable industrial or domestic area at the base of the slope, now lying beneath the present lake. It contained some Roman coins that have a date range from circa 260 to 340 AD. The site also produced some pottery chiefly dating to the C4th with a few exceptions of C2nd including a mortarium stamp of Aueutius of 100-140 AD. The pottery includes pots of Hadham ware, Nene Valley ware, Verulanium ware plus imported types that include Rhenish and Samian both from southern Gaul. A charcoal pit was also found. A second site was some 60 metres further up the slope to the north-east. It contained an area of pottery, tile and masonry and is the probable site of a farmstead, possibly with a bath house, probably with the lower walls made from stone. Finds here included a brooch, coins, bone, flint flakes and oyster shell. It is thought that both sites are associated. A third site on a flattish area approximately 30 metres to the north-west of the lake produced 6 more Roman coins of the late C3rd to early C4th. and a silvered disc.

Some of the exhibition photographs, including the finds from Henham, held by Saffron Walden Museum


Google map with crop markings

Forres Cottage following V2 bomb dropping Old diesel lorry belonging to Jack Hayden's family, possibly the first owned in the village
a key for opening the village pumps map showing the site of a roman villa and other finds
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Further pottery found in Hall Field in 1848 and donated by Susannah Cowell in 1891. Roman Samianware found in Hall Field in 1848 and donated by Susannah Cowell in 1891
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site of the roman villa on a south-facing slope
This carving was made in 1931 using a piece of 14th Century oak recovered from St Mary's church

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