Ancient Monuments

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Roman fort and watch tower, 800m SSW of Amberfield

A Scheduled Monument in Burgh by Sands, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.9137 / 54°54'49"N

Longitude: -3.0555 / 3°3'19"W

OS Eastings: 332429.659112

OS Northings: 558179.182178

OS Grid: NY324581

Mapcode National: GBR 7C3M.8C

Mapcode Global: WH7ZV.1R8F

Entry Name: Roman fort and watch tower, 800m SSW of Amberfield

Scheduled Date: 26 January 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007067

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 526

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Burgh by Sands

Built-Up Area: Burgh by Sands

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Burgh-by-Sands St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the remains of a Roman fort and watch tower situated on a slight rise around 800m south of Hadrian's Wall. The fort and watch tower are preserved as cropmarks. The tower is circular in plan and surrounded by a slight rampart and ditch with a diameter of 20m and has been shown by excavation to date to the first half of the 2nd century AD. The tower lies within the eastern corner of the fort which dates to the later 2nd century AD. The fort is square, about 140m across and defined by a single ditch with entrances on the south west and south east sides. Within the interior of the fort are traces of a large building with internal divisions, which is thought to be the principia, and a second rectangular building interpreted as a granary. Partial excavation of the fort revealed the remains of the ramparts and south east gateway, with the ramparts being 5m wide later widened to 7.5m and being constructed from clay on a pebble base. To the south east of the fort is an annexe measuring 120m by 140m which is also included within the monument.
The monument is crossed by a road and farm track, the metalled surfaces of which are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

PastScape Monument No:- 10767
NMR:- NY35NW34
Cumbria HER:- 4395

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 watch tower, 800m SSW of Amberfield are preserved as cropmarks and excavation has revealed the monument contains archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. The fort and watch tower lie about 800m south of the route of Hadrian's Wall and are therefore form part of one of the most important Roman military landscapes in England. In addition, with the presence of a watch tower superseded by a fort, the monument provides insight in to the development of military strategy during the Roman occupation of England.

Source: Historic England

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