Ancient Monuments

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Roman fortlet at Salkeld Gate

A Scheduled Monument in Penrith, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7191 / 54°43'8"N

Longitude: -2.7769 / 2°46'36"W

OS Eastings: 350053.621567

OS Northings: 536282.316445

OS Grid: NY500362

Mapcode National: GBR 9F1W.M4

Mapcode Global: WH80Y.9NX5

Entry Name: Roman fortlet at Salkeld Gate

Scheduled Date: 10 January 1962

Last Amended: 9 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008234

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23673

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Penrith

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Plumpton Wall St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a Roman fortlet located on the summit of a low hillock a short
distance east of the A6 trunk road which here follows the line of the Roman
road which connected forts at Brougham (known to the Romans as Brocavum) and
Old Penrith (known to the Romans as Voreda). The northern half of the fortlet
is visible as cropmarks on an aerial photograph which clearly shows features
such as the infilled ditches which surround the site. Fortlets had fairly
standard layouts and plans and the visible information about the northern part
of this site provides sufficient information to allow the full extent of the
site to be defined. The site was rectangular with rounded corners and measures
approximately 48m by 50m. The ditch which defines the northern side of the
fortlet measures approximately 38m long but only about 14m of the east and
west ditches are visible.
All field boundaries and the surface of a farmtrack are excluded from the
scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman fortlets are small rectangular enclosures with rounded corners defined
by a fortified rampart of turf and earth with one or more outer ditches. The
ramparts were originally revetted at the front and rear by timber uprights in
shallow trenches and were almost certainly crowned with timber wall walks and
Fortlets were constructed from the first century AD to at least the later
fourth century AD to provide accommodation for a small detachment of troops
generally deployed on a temporary basis of between one to two years and
supplied by a fort in the same area. The function of fortlets varies from
place to place; some were positioned to guard river crossings or roads,
particularly at vulnerable points such as crossroads, whilst others acted as
supply bases for signal towers. Roman fortlets are rare nationally with
approximately 50 examples known in Britain, half of which are located in
Scotland. As such, and as one of a small group of Roman military monuments
which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government
policy, fortlets are of particular significance to our understanding of the
period and all surviving examples are considered nationally important.

Despite the absence of any upstanding earthwork features, the Roman fortlet at
Salkeld Gate has been identified on aerial photographs. It will retain
significant archaeological information, including information on the original
form of the enclosing defences. It is one of many Roman sites lying adjacent
to the main Roman road which connected the Vale of York with Carlisle, and
will contribute to any study of Roman military campaigning in northern

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
St Joseph, J K, 'Journal of Roman Studies' in Air Reconnaissance of North Britain, , Vol. 41, (1951), 53-4
AP No. DM 055, Cambridge University Collection, (1949)
FMW Report, Crow, J., AM 107, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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