Ancient Monuments

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Roman temporary camp and medieval monastic cross base, Mastiles Lane.

A Scheduled Monument in Malham Moor, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0852 / 54°5'6"N

Longitude: -2.1316 / 2°7'53"W

OS Eastings: 391485.249802

OS Northings: 465488.902714

OS Grid: SD914654

Mapcode National: GBR FPK6.99

Mapcode Global: WHB6M.7L51

Entry Name: Roman temporary camp and medieval monastic cross base, Mastiles Lane.

Scheduled Date: 6 February 1964

Last Amended: 9 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008777

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24472

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Malham Moor

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkby-in-Malhamdale St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The Roman camp is situated on Low Stony Bank, in a defensive position on a
level tract of open moorland with higher ground towards the east. It is of
typical rectilinear shape and measures 306m by 249m with the long axis
running north to south. The slight but well defined earthen rampart is
approximately 3.5m wide and 0.7m. The numerous breaks visible in the rampart
are largely the result of later paths and sheep tracks cutting across it. A
single v-shaped ditch about 3m wide surrounds the rampart, on the east side it
reaches a maximum depth of 0.5m but is very shallow to the north and barely
visible on the west and south sides.
Three entrances on the north, east and south sides are discernible, these
include a form of gateway defences known as internal claviculae, an inward
extension of the rampart and ditch which blocks the direct line of access into
the camp. On the western side the rampart has been considerably mutilated by
modern breaks and no entrance is discernible. The interior of the camp lying
to the north of the field wall which centrally bisects the camp is much
disturbed for a distance of 30m. An old boundary wall crosses the north part
of the camp and numerous circular depressions, most being natural solution
holes, lie in the interior, two water filled ones have destroyed the bank on
the north east corner.
The camp encloses an area of 8.2ha and is of legionary size. It is
suggested that the camp may belong to the campaigns of either Cerialis or of
Agricola at the end of the 1st century AD, which effected the conquest of this
area of northern England.
The base of a somewhat subsided medieval monastic wayside cross lies
beside Mastiles Lane and approximately centrally within the Roman camp. It
includes a roughly triangular gritstone measuring some 1.5m by 1.2m sited on a
foundation of three limestone boulders. The square socket hole roughly
centrally placed has dimensions of approximately 0.3m by 0.3m and with a
maximum depth of 0.25m. The cross is one of a number along Mastiles Lane which
was originally a medieval routeway. It is associated with the nearby abbey at
Coverham and linked the abbey with some of its grange farms in the area.

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 camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were
constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as
practice camps; most campaign camps were only temporary overnight bases and
few were used for longer periods. They were bounded by a single earthen
rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded
corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances, although as many
as eleven have been recorded. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in
the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive
outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most
known examples lie in the midlands and north. Around 140 examples have been
identified and, as one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by
the Roman Army, particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas, they
provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation.
All well-preserved examples are identified as being of national importance.

Stone crosses were erected widely throughout the medieval period,
mostly between the 9th and 15th centuries and had a variety of functions,
although the main purpose of raising such a cross was to reiterate and
reinforce the Christian faith amongst those who passed it. Many crosses were
erected to mark the boundaries of lands held by ecclesiastical institutions
such as monasteries. Others fulfilled a role as waymarkers especially in
difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. Such crosses contribute
significantly to our understanding of medieval religious custom and
landholding. Decorated examples also contribute to our knowledge of sculptural
and artistic traditions. All examples which survive as earthfast monuments,
except those which are damaged and removed from their original locations, are
considered worthy of protection.
This camp survives reasonably well and retains significant detail on its
original form. The cross-base situated within it is one of a group adjacent to
Mastiles Lane which continue to mark a monastic routeway across this area of

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Frere, S S, St Joseph, J K S, Roman Britain from the Air, (1983), 22-23
Raistrick, A , Malham, (1947), 13
Myers, J O, (1953)

Source: Historic England

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