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Roman fort west of Eaton House

A Scheduled Monument in Brewood and Coven, Staffordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6928 / 52°41'33"N

Longitude: -2.1418 / 2°8'30"W

OS Eastings: 390514.614041

OS Northings: 310572.00081

OS Grid: SJ905105

Mapcode National: GBR 187.5BT

Mapcode Global: WHBFD.2LD0

Entry Name: Roman fort W of Eaton House

Scheduled Date: 21 June 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006098

English Heritage Legacy ID: ST 159

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Brewood and Coven

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Penkridge St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Summary

Roman fort 450m WSW of Eaton House.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 July 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a Roman fort situated on slightly elevated ground to the east of the Penk valley. The fort survives as cropmarks known from aerial photography. The fort is square in plan with two or more ditches and measures externally up to 160m across occupying an area of just over 2 hectares. The site was identified in 1965 by J.K. St. Joseph who noted mounds marking the rampart on all four sides, lighter coloured soil from the area of the ramparts, burnt oven-debris from the intervallum, and patches of daub and gravel from the interior. Pottery scatters included rusticated ware, an amphora neck, mortaria fragments, Samian and quern. The mounds no longer survive and the archaeology survives entirely as buried features and structures.

The fort lies to the south of Watling Street, the early Roman road from London to the legionary fortress at Wroxter (Viroconium). The monument is part of a large group of Roman military sites identified within the vicinity of Water Eaton and Stretton Mill, near to the where Watling Street crosses the River Penk. This was a strategic location and a nodal point in the Roman road system from which roads left Watling Street for Chester, Wroxeter, Greensforge, and perhaps Metchley. In the later Roman period a small defended settlement called Pennocrucium was laid out astride Watling Street, which lies just to the north west of the monument. Pennocrucium is the subject of a separate scheduling.

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. All Roman forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important.

The Roman fort 450m WSW of Eaton House survives as buried archaeological remains as years of ploughing has reduced the above ground visible remains. Together with the nearby military sites and settlement of Pennocrucium, the remains will provide important evidence for Roman military strategy and of significant changes throughout the period of Roman occupation.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Welfare, H, Swan, V, Roman Camps in England: The Field Evidence, (1995)
Other
Pastscape: 77259, HER: DST5789 & NMR: SJ91SW26

Source: Historic England

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