NGRef: SK0573
OSMap: LR119
Type: Roman Spa Town
ENE (8) to Brovgh-on-noe (Brough-on-Noe, Derbyshire)
NW (21) to Mamvcivm (Manchester, Greater Manchester)
Probable road: SE (30) to Littlechester (Littlechester, Derbyshire)

Aquae Arnemetiae - "The Spa-Town of the Sacred Groves"

The only classical reference to the Roman name for Buxton is in the Ravenna Cosmology of the seventh century. The entry Aquis Arnemeza (R&C#107), occurs between the other towns Navio (Brough-on-Noe, Derbyshire) and Ardotalia (Melandra Castle, Derbyshire).

The Latin name then, for Buxton was Aquae Arnemetiae, the prefix aquae literally means 'of the waters', and was used by the Romans to denote natural spa's or springs. The second part of the name is associated with the Welsh/Gaelic word Nemeton or "sacred grove", which here seems to be used in the plural form. We can readily assume from the origins of the Roman name for Buxton that the natural springs here represented a religious centre of some considerable importance, probably used by many generations of native Britons prior to the coming of Rome.

Milestone from Aquae Arnemetiae


"... Tribunician Power, Consul two times, Father of his Country, eleven thousand paces from Navio."

(RIB 2243; milestone)

The Nemeton Grove of Arnemetia

The only evidence for a temple to this deity, who may be a pseudonym of Nemetona, is a solidly-built Podium of well-dressed stone with a packed clay infill which was investigated in 1787. This platform measured 22½ ft. wide by 46 ft. in length, and stood about 4 ft. in height. Iron nails and roofing tiles suggest that the superstructure was of timber. The suspected temple was oriented north-south and faced the Roman baths at St Anne's Well about 80 ft. away.

The only other recognised Spa-town in Roman Britain is Aquae Sulis (Bath, Avon), which is also a known Nemeton grove.

Click here for the RBO Temples and Shrines Index

Click Here for more Information on British Nemeton Groves

See: Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966);
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.

Roman Name

Ravenna Cosmography: Aquis Arnemeza

Page Citation: Kevan White (2018) "Roman Britain: AQUAE ARNEMETIAE"