Clausentum was a Roman settlement on the east side of the Itchen River on what is now the site of Bitterne Manor. It was established in c.43 CE on the peninsula of land bounded on three sides by water and defended on the eastern landward side by ditches. It is mentioned only once in ancient sources, in the Antonine Itinerary, compiled 320 CE, where it is described as being ten Roman miles from Venta Belgarum (Winchester), and ten from Portus Adurni (Portchester). The incongruity of these distances has led some to question Bitterne's indentification with Clausentum, but is generally believed to be the case.
investigations by Richard Warner in 1792 discovered a ditch, a bank and some Roman coins. Excavations in 1937-38 and 1951 in the Bitterne Manor/Steuart Road area uncovered the site of a small settlement of the 1st and 2nd centuries. Stone walls, dating from the late 3rd or early 4th century were later erected around the site. Remains of a Roman road on a line running from Bitterne Manor to Wickham have also been found.

Remains of Roman Wall, Bitterne Manor

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Photographed by O G S Crawford in 1941.

Further reading:
Southampton Through the Ages, by Peter Kilby, p1-10. (HS/h)
Excavations at Clausentum 1937-8, by D. M. Waterman. (HS/f)
Excavations at Clausentum 1951-4, by M Aylwin Cotton and P. W. Gathercole. (HS/f)
'The Romans in Bitterne', by John Edgar Mann, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal No. 11, Winter 2003, p17. (HS/h)


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