chapter  2
6 Pages

Assessment

As has been shown, in Romano-British Christianity there were similarities to the pagan religions, or actual pagan elements in churches, cemeteries, inscriptions and symbols. It is likely that this had the effect of making Christianity fairly inconspicuous in the context of fourth-century Romano-British religion, and, therefore, more acceptable to relatively unsophisticated RomanoBritish. Nevertheless, the incidence of Celtic, rather than Roman, pagan practices, particularly in burial rites, suggests that native traditions were still retained, despite more than two centuries of romanisation; this probably contributed to the decline of Christianity after the departure of the Romans. It does seem that where Celtic practices were more commonly observed, that is, in rural areas, these were generally the locations that were unable to resist the pagan revival of the late fourth century; in the more romanised towns, however, Christianity was able to carry on at least until the end of the fourth century and some decades beyond and, indeed, in certain areas to survive into the Saxon era. Few sites, rural or urban, were able to withstand the twin disasters of Roman withdrawal and Saxon incursions, but, even here, with a few notable exceptions,1 it was where Roman influence was stronger that there is more evidence for continuity.