Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

A Roman fort and Roman camp at Bury Barton

A Scheduled Monument in Lapford, Devon

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8496 / 50°50'58"N

Longitude: -3.8007 / 3°48'2"W

OS Eastings: 273330.55896

OS Northings: 107106.851886

OS Grid: SS733071

Mapcode National: GBR L2.VYSM

Mapcode Global: FRA 26XV.K3Z

Entry Name: A Roman fort and Roman camp at Bury Barton

Scheduled Date: 8 November 1988

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002669

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 1033

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Lapford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lapford

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a Roman fort and a Roman camp situated on a north east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Yeo and the Dalch Valley. Both the fort and camp survive as rectangular enclosures with rounded corners preserved as earthworks or buried features with the fort being entirely enclosed within the larger camp. The camp occupies an area of approximately eight hectares and the earthwork rampart is visible to the west and south has been reduced to the north and east. It is thought to have been a campaign base. The smaller fort occupies an area of approximately 1.9 hectares and is bounded by a well-defined earthwork with up to three buried ditches and a northern gateway. The rampart earthworks are traceable around the entire circuit except where it has been cut by farm buildings and is particularly well-preserved, standing at up to 2m high in places. Partial excavations undertaken within the fort indicated occupancy in the Claudio-Neronian period and revealed traces of timber buildings. These forts are listed in the Ravenna Cosmography as 'Nemetostatio'. Bury Barton is recorded as 'Beria' in 1086 and 'Bury' in 1503 which is thought to have derived from the word burh and may refer to its strategic location, guarding a natural fording place across the River Yeo. Both the camp and fort are bisected by a later road and underlie a number of farm buildings (several of which are Listed) yards, houses, a swimming pool and a chapel. These features and all modern surfaces and fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

Sources: Devon HER:-12137
NMR:-SS70NW5
PastScape Monument No:-34836

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight-sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the accommodation of troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second centuries AD. Some were only used for short periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. Roman forts are rare nationally and are extremely rare south of the Severn Trent line. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.
Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as practice camps. They were bounded by a single earthen rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances, although as many as eleven have been recorded. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most known examples lie in the midlands and north. Around 140 examples have been
identified and, as one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by the Roman Army, particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas, they provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation. Despite some interference through agricultural activity, being cut by a road and partially built over the Roman fort and Roman camp at Bury Barton survive well, they are especially rare in the south west and the fort is the best preserved in the whole of this region. Also of interest is the fact that the two are superimposed indicating different reactions to military events throughout Roman times.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.