Ancient Monuments

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Old Carlisle (Olerica) fort and civil settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Westward, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8066 / 54°48'23"N

Longitude: -3.1517 / 3°9'5"W

OS Eastings: 326072.389115

OS Northings: 546355.404895

OS Grid: NY260463

Mapcode National: GBR 6DFV.GR

Mapcode Global: WH6Z7.KGF1

Entry Name: Old Carlisle (Olerica) fort and civil settlement

Scheduled Date: 26 August 1924

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007249

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 8

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Westward

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Westward St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


Roman fort, civilian settlement and roman road, immediately west and 338m south west of Old Carlisle Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 23 February 2016. This 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 the remains of a Roman fort, its surrounding civilian settlement (or vicus) and an associated road. The scheduled area lies on the east side of Wiza Beck and is divided in two by the A595 main road. The fort, which stands on high ground to the west of Old Carlisle Farm, covers an area of approximately 2ha. and is rectangular in plan with rounded corners. The fort is surrounded by a bank, measuring approximately 1m high and 3m wide, and a double ditch which is well-preserved at its east and west ends. The internal features of the fort are preserved as cropmarks with analysis of aerial photographs revealing the remains of the road system, gateways and ranges within the interior of the fort. The fort is surrounded by the extensive remains of its civilian settlement or vicus which are preserved as cropmarks and buried archaeological deposits. Partial excavation has indicated that paved surfaces, roads, wall foundations and other building remains all survive as buried archaeological deposits. The evidence for roads includes excavation of the remains of a section of the Carlisle to Papcastle road which runs through the scheduled area. Located 75m to the south of the south gate of the fort are the remains of a large courtyard building understood to be a mansio, or lodging house, which have been identified from aerial photographs. The partial excavation of the vicus has indicated that it was built in the second century AD, largely from timber buildings, and was destroyed and then rebuilt in the reign of Gordian III before being destroyed and rebuilt in its final form around AD296; there is no indication for occupation of the vicus after AD367.

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.

Old Carlisle (Olerica) Roman fort survives as an upstanding earthwork and partial excavation has demonstrated that the surrounding civilian settlement known from cropmarks survives as well preserved buried deposits. The monument provides insight into Roman military fortifications, their relationship to early urban development and their role in the Romanisation of northern Britain.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 9942 (fort and vicus), 1325580 (Roman road), 1031507 (Roman road)

Source: Historic England

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