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King Street Roman fort, Harbutt's Field

A Scheduled Monument in Middlewich, Cheshire East

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1988 / 53°11'55"N

Longitude: -2.4472 / 2°26'49"W

OS Eastings: 370221.515628

OS Northings: 366954.452386

OS Grid: SJ702669

Mapcode National: GBR 7X.2D2Q

Mapcode Global: WH99L.CVXL

Entry Name: King Street Roman fort, Harbutt's Field

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008460

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12615

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Middlewich

Built-Up Area: Middlewich

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Middlewich St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Details

The monument includes a Roman fort located on the northern fringe of
Middlewich, a town generally identified as the Roman settlement known as
Salinae.

A Roman fort had been postulated to exist at Salinae since the 18th century
but was only positively identified by field work during 1993. No upstanding
remains survive but resistivity survey work, which measures the way in which
electrical currents pass through the ground and uses this information to
provide an insight into the nature of below-ground remains, has confirmed the
location of the site and also that extensive remains of the whole fort survive
beneath the present ground surface. The details of this have also been
confirmed by magnetometer survey, which measures the different magnetic
response of buried features, and by aerial photography.

The complete plan of the fort has been revealed by this work. It is a roughly
square enclosure, measuring approximately 110m by 125m with rounded corners
and entrances visible in the middle of all four sides. There is evidence of a
structure located within the northern gateway. The enclosure was surrounded by
a single rampart and ditch. There are further features outside the rampart
and ditch which may represent ancillary features such as the roads leading to
the site, and a possible outer ditch on the north side of the fort. A number
of internal features have also been identified.

The geophysical survey work was followed by limited excavation. This revealed
that the ditch survives as a buried feature, as do postholes which relate to
the construction of the rampart. Within the interior of the fort, deposits of
burnt clay were found along with evidence of the slots in which timber beams
used in the foundations of the Roman buildings would have been set. Pottery
fragments found indicate that the fort was in use in the late first century
AD.

Although no upstanding remains of the fort at King Street survive, geophysical
survey and limited excavation have established the position and extent of the
whole site and confirmed that significant archaeological remains survive
beneath the present ground surface.

The survival of the entire area and plan of a Roman fort is exceptional for
this area of England. It will provide a significant contribution to studies
of the early Roman conquest and control of this area.

MAP EXTRACT
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 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.
Although no upstanding remains of the fort at King Street survive, geophysical
survey and limited excavation have established the position and extent of the
whole site and confirmed that significant archaeological remains survive
beneath the present ground surface.
The survival of the entire area and plan of a Roman fort is exceptional for
this area of England. It will provide a significant contribution to studies
of the early Roman conquest and control of this area.

Source: Historic England

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