Ancient Monuments

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Roper Castle Roman signal station, on the western flank of Moudy Mea, 700m south of Summit Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Stainmore, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4954 / 54°29'43"N

Longitude: -2.1836 / 2°11'0"W

OS Eastings: 388208.070598

OS Northings: 511130.263522

OS Grid: NY882111

Mapcode National: GBR FJ6G.29

Mapcode Global: WHB4N.F8FM

Entry Name: Roper Castle Roman signal station, on the western flank of Moudy Mea, 700m south of Summit Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1938

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007200

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 209

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Stainmore

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Brough St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the remains of a Roman signal station, situated on the western flank of Moudy Mea some 1.6km south of the Roman road which crosses the Penines via Stainmore. The signal station, which is also known as Round Table, includes a sub-rectangular enclosure surrounded by slight bank and outer ditch with traces of a causewayed entrance on the south side. The interior of the enclosure is divided into two raised platforms by a slight north to south ditch.

PastScape Monument No:- n/a
NMR:- n/a
Cumbria HER:- 1841

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman signal stations were rectangular towers of stone or wood situated within ditched, embanked, palisaded or walled enclosures. They were built by the Roman army for military observation and signalling by means of fire or smoke. They normally formed an element of a wider system of defence and signalling between military sites such as forts and camps and towns, generally as part of a chain of stations to cover long distances. In northern England stations were used in particular to augment the main frontier formed by Hadrian's Wall, but elsewhere stations were constructed along the coast to keep lookout over the sea and to signal information both along the coast and to inland sites. Signal stations were constructed and used in Britain mainly during three distinct periods. The earliest examples were built between AD 50 and AD 117 for use during the earliest military campaigns during the conquest period. Signal stations at this period took the form of a wooden tower surrounded by a ditch and bank and possibly a slight timber palisade. After AD 117 towers were more usually built in stone, some on the same site as earlier timber towers. The latest series, in the mid-4th century AD, were more substantial stone signal stations built mainly along the Yorkshire coast. These had a tower up to 30m high which was surrounded by a curtain wall and external ditch. Signal stations survive as low earthworks, or their below ground remains may be identified on aerial photographs. Fewer than 50 examples have been identified in England. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy, government policy and the pattern of military control, signal stations are of importance to our understanding of the period. All Roman signal stations with surviving archaeological remains are considered to be nationally important.
Roper Castle Roman signal station is preserved as an earthwork and will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. The monument provides insight into Roman military strategy and the importance of communication in the military occupation of the north of England.

Source: Historic England

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