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Blakehope Roman fort and Roman temporary camp

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.245 / 55°14'41"N

Longitude: -2.224 / 2°13'26"W

OS Eastings: 385853.696813

OS Northings: 594551.858903

OS Grid: NY858945

Mapcode National: GBR D7XS.9M

Mapcode Global: WHB0Y.TF4H

Entry Name: Blakehope Roman fort and Roman temporary camp

Scheduled Date: 3 February 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006507

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 323

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Rochester

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Otterburn St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument, which falls into three areas, includes the remains of a Roman fort contained within the partial remains of a larger Roman temporary camp, situated on gently sloping ground adjacent to the Dere Street Roman road. The Roman fort is visible as a rectangular enclosure with rounded corners measuring approximately 128m by 119m and orientated north west to south east; it is defined by a single turf built rampart with an outer ditch visible as intermittent low earthworks. There are at least two recorded entrances. A small excavation within the Roman fort indicated it to be pre-Hadrianic in date. The fort is situated within a larger enclosure, interpreted as a Roman temporary camp. This enclosure is defined by a rampart with an internal and external ditch which are partially visible as slight earthworks on the west, north and north west sides. The temporary camp is cut by the Roman Road Dere Street indicating that the road is later than the camp. The modern boundary walls which cross the fort and camp are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

SOURCES
PastScape Monument No:- 17425
NMR:- NY89SE11
Northumberland HER:- 8278

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 and temporary camp at Blakehope are reasonably well-preserved and contain significant archaeological deposits relating to their construction, use and abandonment and in particular to the relationship between the two fortifications. The significance of the monument is enhanced by the survival in the vicinity of further monuments of Roman date which taken together will inform our knowledge and understanding of the sequential development of Roman military fortifications in the area. This is particularly important as Dere Street was one of the principle routes to the north and an important part of the Roman occupation of Northern Britain.

Source: Historic England

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