ROMAN OCCUPATION AND SUTTON WALLS.
The period of the Roman invasion of Great Britain, or ‘Britannia’, in the first century AD inevitably saw violence and bloodshed. A series of Roman military campaigns were undertaken in Herefordshire from around 49AD to around 79AD aiming to conquer new territory westwards and wipe out any resistance movements. On Sutton Walls it appears that in the face of the Roman advance, the ditch at the west was hurriedly recut.
However, there is no evidence of any Herefordshire hillforts actually being laid siege to and Dr Keith Ray writes in The Archaeology of Herefordshire that ‘the local inhabitants of ‘Iron Age’ Herefordshire eventually had to accept their new masters and they adapted to Roman rule’.
Sutton Walls was probably continually occupied, or in use, from the Iron Age into the Roman period. It was doubtless peopled by the descendants of the original inhabitants. Kathleen Kenyon believed it was occupied as a village in the first part of the Roman period and that after time the ramparts were gradually left to decay.
Building materials generally improved although their huts were still wattle-and-daub, but by the end of the second century a hut of a more solid character, with stone-paved floors succeeds the mud floored wattle-and-daub house. They had stone kilns to dry their grain and continued to farm and make household and personal items, but gradually they began to purchase more of their household requisites in Roman fashions, and adopt the use of Roman coinage.
A very great quantity of Roman pottery has been found on Sutton Walls – mainly second century in date, and mostly the orange-red ‘Severn Valley Ware’ pottery or ‘black burnished’ cooking vessels made at Poole in Dorset. The finds include mugs, jars and bowls. Brooches, cloth making and metal working items have also been found.
It is thought actual occupation of Sutton Walls ceased at the end of the third century and the land returned to agricultural use.