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Roman fortlet 440m south west of Restormel Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lostwithiel, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4186 / 50°25'6"N

Longitude: -4.673 / 4°40'22"W

OS Eastings: 210204.814125

OS Northings: 61051.966345

OS Grid: SX102610

Mapcode National: GBR N4.QZDW

Mapcode Global: FRA 173Y.79J

Entry Name: Roman fortlet 440m south west of Restormel Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 February 1979

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004660

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 936

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lostwithiel

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lanlivery

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a Roman fortlet, situated on the summit of a prominent spur, overlooking the steep valley of the River Fowey. The fort survives as a central square enclosure with rounded corners defined by a rampart bank, preserved as a scarp of between 0.6m to 1.6m high with an entrance to the south. It is surrounded on all except the east side by a middle rampart located some 20m from the inner rampart. This is up to 1.7m high and also has a southern inturned entrance.
A further length of outer rampart is located some 50m to the west with a flanking turn to the north. The accompanying ditches are preserved as buried features. Chance finds of Samian ware, red glazed pottery and a rotary quern attest to its Roman origins. Recent geophysical surveys conducted by the Cornwall Archaeological Society confirmed its identity as a Roman fortlet which was probably occupying the site of an earlier Iron Age round or hillfort. The fortlet continued in use from the 1st to 4th centuries AD and was linked to a second fort or fortlet at nearby Nanstallon. The fortlet at Restormel was of sufficient size to hold two centuries whilst Nanstallon held between two and three and probably contained the Principia buildings. Together they controlled established trade links through Cornwall.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-432777

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman fortlets are small rectangular enclosures with rounded corners defined by a fortified rampart of turf and earth with one or more outer ditches. The ramparts were originally revetted at the front and rear by timber uprights in shallow trenches and were almost certainly crowned with timber wall walks and parapets. Fortlets were constructed from the first century AD to at least the later fourth century AD to provide accommodation for a small detachment of troops generally deployed on a temporary basis of between one to two years and supplied by a fort in the same area. The function of fortlets varies from place to place; some were positioned to guard river crossings or roads, particularly at vulnerable points such as crossroads, whilst others acted as supply bases for signal towers. Roman fortlets are rare nationally with approximately 50 examples known in Britain, half of which are located in Scotland. As such, and as one of a small group of Roman military monuments which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, fortlets are of particular significance to our understanding of the period and all surviving examples are considered nationally important. The Roman fortlet 440m south west of Restormel Farm is nationally rare and extremely rare in Cornwall. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to military strategy, administration, trade, social, economic and political significance, the possible re-use of an earlier native hillfort, its influence, longevity, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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