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Brough Castle and Brough (Verteris) Roman fort and civil settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Brough, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5212 / 54°31'16"N

Longitude: -2.3234 / 2°19'24"W

OS Eastings: 379161.383432

OS Northings: 514039.714536

OS Grid: NY791140

Mapcode National: GBR DJ65.S1

Mapcode Global: WH938.8MVB

Entry Name: Brough Castle and Brough (Verteris) Roman fort and civil settlement

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1915

Last Amended: 5 December 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007148

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 334

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Brough

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Brough St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The upstanding and buried remains of Brough (Verteris) Roman fort and its associated civilian settlement, Brough medieval castle and a forework and a series of linear earthorks associated with the castle at Church Brough.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Brough Roman fort and its associated vicus or civil settlement and the upstanding and buried remains of Brough Castle. The fort and castle are located to the west of the village of Church Brough on the highest part of a ridge to the south of Swindale Beck. Cutting across this ridge on the east and west sides of the fort and castle are linear earthworks of bank and ditch configuration. The vicus lies to the east and south east of the fort. The scheduling is divided into two separate areas. The largest contains the fort and castle, the linear earthworks and buried remains of part of the vicus. A second area of scheduling extends over two fields centred at NY79391395 and contains further buried remains of part of the vicus.

The exact size of the Roman fort is now difficult to determine given the medieval alterations caused by construction of the castle and its bailey. The width from east to west between the ditch centres flanking the fort/bailey platform measures 100-110m while the ditch flanking the south, west and part of the east sides measures up to 15m wide by 6.0m deep. There is a rampart on the west and part of the east sides of the platform up to 1.0m high and an outer counterscarp bank up to 0.5m high beyond the south ditch. The north to south measurements of the fort are currently unknown due to the presence of the overlying castle.

Buried remains of the vicus were located in two places amongst the yards and outbuildings of Brough Castle Farm. These remains included evidence for wattle-and-daub structures and stone structures in what is now a yard area in front of outbuildings immediately south of the access road to the farm, and well-preserved remains of the Roman bathhouse to the rear of a cluster of farm outbuildings.

Brough Castle is of stone construction and overlies the northern part of the Roman fort. It measures about 85m east-west and between about 20-45m north-south, widening towards its eastern end. Access is through the remains of a gatehouse in the south curtain wall which leads into a cobbled courtyard. Immediately to the west of the gatehouse are the lower courses of the castle’s stables. The castle’s south-west corner is dominated by the shell of the keep, a three-storey structure with corner turrets above a basement. Along the north curtain wall there are the remains of a double latrine and further along a range of buildings flanking the curtain wall as far as its north east corner are the lower courses of a brewhouse, bakehouse and kitchen. The inner range of buildings at the south-east corner of the castle include the hall range which contained a great hall above more modest rooms such as storerooms, basements and offices. The south east corner of the castle is dominated by Clifford’s Towers, a semi-circular projecting corner tower formerly of three storeys.

The castle is surrounded by a moat. A causeway 10-12m wide crosses the moat leading to the south gatehouse and there is a second, narrower causeway close to the south-west corner. The moat remains up to 8.5m deep in places and there is a counterscarp bank on all sides, although on the north side it has partly eroded down the steep hill slope.

Beyond the moat’s east arm there is a roughly triangular ‘forework’ with a ditch and counterscarp bank on its south and part of its east sides and the steep river cliff on its north side and the remainder of its east side. This ‘forework’ may represent the east end of an early courtyard or bailey which became isolated when the early-C14 curtain with its moat was created. The interior of the ‘forework’ contains the foundations of a more recent walled enclosure tentatively identified by the RCHME’s 1996 survey as a possible C17 walled garden.

The outworks along the ridge to either side of the castle consist of a single example to the east and two to the west. The eastern outwork extends from the eastern extremity of the ‘forework’ across the summit of the ridge to a point where the south-facing slope of the ridge starts to steepen. As such the earthwork functioned as a defence across the ridge and it survives as a ditch some 16-19m wide and up to 2.0m deep with traces of a low bank on its west side. Although heavily mutilated by later development in places, traces of the west bank still survive in the garden of Brough Castle Farm. The inner of the two western outworks lies some 40m to the west of the castle moat. It starts at the eroding river cliff at the north and crosses the ridge in similar fashion to the eastern outwork. It averages about 13m wide and is up to 3.8m deep with a rampart 0.5m high on its inner side. Towards the outwork’s southern end the ditch suddenly becomes shallow and the inner rampart terminates to be replaced by an outer bank up to 0.8m high. The outer of the two western outworks lies a further 55m to the west and also comprises a bank and ditch. It extends from the river cliff at the north in a SSW direction for about 95m to the southern base of the ridge. The ditch is 8-13m wide and up to 2.8m deep with a low counterscarp bank on its outer side.

Within the scheduled area centred at NY79391395 buried remains of the Roman vicus have been revealed in a field immediately to the east of St Michael’s Churchyard. Here archaeological excavation revealed substantial remains of two phases of timber buildings with clay floors and associated pottery dated from the late-C1/early-C2 to the C3. It also indicated that the vicus extended south-east from the fort at least as far as this field and potentially into the adjacent field to the east.

Extent of Scheduling

This includes the upstanding and buried remains of Brough Roman fort and two separate parts of its associated vicus, together with Brough Castle, its 'forework' to the east of the castle, and three outworks or linear earthworks to the east and west of the castle. The scheduling is divided into two separate areas, the larger containing the fort and part of the vicus, castle, 'forework' and outworks, the smaller lying to the east of St Michael's churchyard and containing buried remains of the vicus.

The boundary of the larger area runs along the south bank of Swindale Beck on the monument's north side and 2m beyond the outer edge of the western of the two outworks on the castle's west side as surveyed by the RCHME in 1996. On the south side the boundary runs along the base of the hill on which the fort and castle stand then follows a field boundary on the north side of a sunken lane. On the monument's west side the boundary initially follows a field boundary before running along the outside of outbuildings associated with Brough Castle Farm. It then crosses the access road leading to the farm before following the garden wall on the east side of Castle Hill Cottage. It then runs in a northern direction 2m beyond the outer edge of the eastern outwork before completing a circuit of the monument by running along the base of the hill on which the fort and castle stand.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling, these include all farm outbuildings, fences, walls, modern field boundaries, telegraph poles, all made up surfaces apart from the cobbled castle courtyard which is included, all gateposts and gates, all information boards, children's play area equipment, railings, a timber staircase giving access to the castle keep, all septic tanks, timber supports for a water trough, and all gabions providing erosion protection for the bank of Swindale Beck. The ground beneath all these features, however, is included.

Brough Castle Farmhouse and its surrounding garden are not included within the scheduled monument. The boundary of the scheduling here thus runs along the western side of outbuildings on the east side of the farmhouse and garden, then runs along the boundary of the garden on the farmhouse's south and west sides. On the farmhouse's north side the boundary follows the boundary of the garden and the northern edge of the farmhouse.

The boundary of the smaller scheduled area to the east of St Michael's churchyard follows modern field boundaries. All field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Brough Castle and Brough Roman fort and civil settlement is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the monument survives well with the castle displaying significant upstanding fabric that illustrates its constructional development during the 6 centuries of its occupation, while the Roman fort survives well as a substantial earthwork partly overlain by the castle and surrounded by ditches latterly reused during the medieval period;
* Potential: numerous limited archaeological excavations within the castle, Roman fort and associated vicus have revealed the well-preserved remains of buried archaeological features and the monument retains enormous potential for the preservation of similar archaeological material;
* Historic interest: the monument retains sufficient historic interest to enhance our understanding of the Roman and medieval military occupation and settlement of northern England and the responses to perceived and actual threats from the north during these periods;
* Documentation: the castle and Roman fort are well documented both historically and in the archaeological records which adds to their interest;
* Group value: the castle has group value with strategically contemporary castles along the Stainmore Pass route over the Pennines at Bowes, Appleby and Brougham while the Roman fort has group value with strategically contemporary forts at Bowes, Kirkby Thore and Brougham.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Birley, E, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, NS, Vol 58, (1958), 31-56' in The Roman fort at Brough-under-Stainmore, , Vol. 58, (1958), 31-56
Collingwood, R G, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, Vol 31, (1931), 81-86' in Objects from Brough-under-Stainmore, , Vol. 31, (1931), 81-86
Gates, T, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, Vol VII' in Earthworks, Parchmarks and Cropmarks, , Vol. 7, (2007), 5
Jones, M J et al, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, NS, Vol 89, (1989), 141-178' in Archaeological Work at Brough-under-Stainmore: II. The medieval and later settlements, , Vol. 89, (1989), 141-178
Jones, M J et al, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society. NS, Vol 77 (1977), 17-45' in Archaeological work at Brough-under-Stainmore 1971-77: I. The Roman Discoveries , , Vol. 77, (1977), 17-45
Richmond, I A, 'Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society, Vol 36 (1936), 104-125' in Roman leaden Sealings from Brough-under Stainmore, , Vol. 36, (1936), 104-125
Archaeological Services, Durham University, Brough Castle, Brough, Cumbria: archaeological monitoring, 2012,
Archaeological Services, Durham University, Brough Castle, Cumbria, and Easby Abbey and spofforth Castle, North Yorkshire: archaeological monitoring, 2011,
Brigantia Archaeological Practice, Archaeological invetsigation of land adjacent to Ash Garth, Church Brough, Cumbria, 2003,
Brough, Cumbria. Report of Geophysical Survey, 1976. Ancient Monuments Laboratory.,
Brougham and Brough Castles, Cumbria. Henry Summerson.
Cumbria HER No. 1783 Verterea/ Brough Roman fort, Brough,
HER 3/08/1982 Church Farm watching brief. Archaeo-Environment Ltd.,
HER 3/08/1987 Brough Castle Watching Brief. Oxford Archaeology North, 2008.,
North Pennines Archaeology Ltd, An archaeological watching brief and evaluation at Brough Castle, Church Brough, Cumbria, 2009,
RCHME Westmorland, 1936, 47-54,
RCHME, The Castle and Roman fort at Brough, Cumbria: Measured survey, 1996,

Source: Historic England

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