Terraced into the steep slope of the hillside and perhaps covering an area of 1.5ha, the entrance faced to the east and may have been flanked by a monumental façade along the river. The solid ragstone foundations, underpinned by circular timber piles, may have supported a temple within a colonnaded precinct. It has not been possible to re-construct a plan of the complex but from the foundations, it may have had a riverside portico allowing a view of the river, while an eastern facade fronted onto a courtyard.
On comparison with the ground plan and size, this may have been a temple precinct on the scale of the temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath. It has also been suggested that the temple’s central axis was deliberately aligned with the entrance to the later forum.
It is possible that these structures formed part of the formal public religious infrastructure. Other substantial walls to the north at Knightrider Street might have been an additional temple or part of the boundary walls to the precinct.
The London complex, built in the late 1st and early 2nd century, was dismantled, however, and levelled to make way for the construction of a new larger, more substantial building in the late 3rd century which has been tentatively identified as a palace, being built on the orders of the usurper Allectus but which was never completed (see about Allectus in Imperial power restored in Military life).
The various sites revealed the limited evidence. St Peter’s Hill revealed large stone blocks as the foundation while the western stretch of the riverside wall at Baynard’s Castle, contained two groups of large stone fragments and a fragment from a frieze of Mother Goddesses: one group is thought to have possibly come from a long low religious screen from the complex; the other, from a large monumental archway which is believed to have come from the entrance to that same religious precinct (see Screen of gods) or perhaps from an arch that spanned a main road (see Monumental arch).
These monuments re-used in the riverside wall have a clear religious content. Although it was common for religious subjects to be portrayed in the Roman world on both temples and isolated religious monuments, it is possible that they could equally well have been used in non-religious public or civilian contexts.