No 6 The Parade
Southern Water cut a trench less than a metre square in the Parade, outside No. 6 (Boots), on 22nd March 1993 in order to deal with a mains leak. Most of the sides consisted of modern backfill, but the southern, beneath 0.7 m. of modern surfaces and brick rubble, contained a series of light pebble and gravel metallings, separated by layers of gritty silt, containing many fragments of Roman tile, painted plaster and opus signinum. The metallings became slightly heavier beneath 1.0 m. below the modern road surface and appeared to continue down beyond the bottom of the 1.4 m. deep trench. Only a cursory inspection was possible in the few minutes that the hole was accessible for examination, and no pottery or bones were apparent. The metallings lay approximately 12 metres from the corner of Mercery Lane and the Parade, immediately to the south of an east-west Roman wall recorded by the Trust during the digging of a sewer tunnel in 1982 (Bennett 1987, 100, fig 33 (wall 18)).
St Andrew's Church stood on the site from at least the twelfth century until its removal in the eighteenth century (Urry 1967, 210, 243, maps 1b5 & 2b6), at which time the brick rubble may have been deposited. The metallings therefore cannot be medieval in date though it is possible that they are Anglo Saxon (especially the lighter upper layers). The presence of much Roman building material could be consistent with a purely Anglo Saxon date range but, given the thickness and number of deposits, it seems likelier that the lower deposits at least were earlier.
The surfaces might have represented a Roman courtyard (though a courtyard sequence was seen north of the east-west wall reported by Bennett) but could also be interpreted as street metallings. More work in the Parade would be needed before a meaningful interpretation of this evidence could be attempted.