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Finchampstead Church
Site of Ancient Pagan Worship

Finchampstead Church, site of a Roman Temple -  Nash Ford Publishing

  • This is Finchampstead Church as it is today.
  • When St. Augustine first brought Christianity to England, he told people to turn the old pagan Saxon and ruined Roman temples into churches.
  • Before today's Finchampstead Church was built in Norman times, there was probably a Saxon church on the site. Before that, there seems to have been a Roman temple there. The earth bank around it can still be seen. We don't know which Roman god it was dedicated to though.
  • The hill was an ideal place for a Roman temple. It could be seen for miles around.
  • It stands just south of the old 'Devil's Highway', the Roman road that ran between Londinium (London) and Calleva (Silchester, near Mortimer). 
  • Photographs taken from aeroplanes show signs of buildings along the road. They were probably hotels for pagan pilgrims.
  • The church at Hampstead Norreys also has a bank around it. There was probably a Roman temple there too. It may have been dedicated to Jupiter, Chief of the Gods. An altar to Jupiter was found nearby at Yattendon.

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  • Hover your mouse over the photograph to see the area when the Roman temple was there.
  • We don't exactly what the temple looked like, but it was probably like this one. This is a type of temple that was common in Roman Britain.
  • It has a central room or 'cella' where the god's statue and perhaps a sacred flame were kept. Then there is an 'ambulatory' or covered walkway around the outside.
  • Notice the bank and ditch marking the sacred area or 'temenos'.
  • Notice the busy stalls outside selling souvenirs to the pagan pilgrims.
  • Notice the priest and people watching a sacrifice (the killing of an animal as a present to the god).



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