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Roman camp south of Field Head Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Mungrisdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6371 / 54°38'13"N

Longitude: -2.9632 / 2°57'47"W

OS Eastings: 337926.318794

OS Northings: 527310.837464

OS Grid: NY379273

Mapcode National: GBR 7GRT.8J

Mapcode Global: WH817.GQ50

Entry Name: Roman camp south of Field Head Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 January 1962

Last Amended: 30 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010824

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23752

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Mungrisdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Mungrisdale

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a Roman camp located on high ground at the head of the
wide valley of the River Glenderamackin and the Trout Beck, from where it
commands extensive views westwards towards Keswick, northwards through the
Caldew valley and southwards over Matterdale and Threlkeld commons. It is
crossed by the old Penrith to Keswick road and is thus divided into two
separate areas. The camp is rectangular with rounded corners and measures
approximately 220m by 190m internally. It has defences consisting of a rampart
and ditch with entrances on the south east and north west sides. Limited
excavation across the defences during the 1950s and 1970s found the rampart
to measure up to 3.8m wide and 0.6m high. It was formed of clay cast up from
the ditch with stacked turves forming the inner and outer faces. The ditch
measures 1.45m wide by 1m deep and was constructed with the outer face of the
slope at a steeper angle than the inner face. A berm up to 0.3m wide separates
the rampart from the ditch. The two entrances are each defended by an internal
clavicula: that is a curving continuation of the rampart and ditch which
partially obstructs access through the entrance. A survey of the monument
undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
during the 1970s found traces of previously unrecognised features including a
third entrance defended by an internal clavicula on the camp's north east
side; an external ditch close to the camp's northern corner; low mounds or
banks running parallel with the rampart along part of the south eastern side;
a linear earthwork resembling a ditch or track crossing the camp in an east-
west direction; and a series of mounds, a ditch and a semicircular and linear
earthwork of uncertain function within the camp.

The camp is thought to date to the late first century AD during the period
when the Roman army was consolidating its position in northern England and in
particular turning its attention to the policing of the Lake District and its
indigenous population.

All field boundaries and the surface of a farm track are excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

The A66(T) has been re-routed and now runs through a cutting to the immediate
south of this camp. This new road alignment is not depicted on the map

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 being crossed by a modern road which divides the monument into two
separate areas, the Roman camp south of Field Head Farm survives reasonably
well, its defensive earthworks in particular remaining well preserved. It is
one of a group of Roman sites in the immediate vicinity, the others being a
fort and two further camps, each of which display marked differences in plan,
numbers of gateways, size and subsequent troop disposition. The monument will
contribute to any study of Roman military campaigning in northern England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Roman Temporary Camps Near Troutbeck, Cumberland, , Vol. LVI, (1957), 28-36
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, , Vol. XXXVIII, (1938), 32-41
Shotter, D C A, 'Roman North-West England' in Roman North-West England, (1984), 21
St Joseph, J K, 'Journal of Roman Studies' in Aerial Reconniassance in Britain, 1951-55, , Vol. 45, (1955), 83-4
Wilson, D R, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain In 1973, , Vol. 5, (1974), 412-3
RCHME, Roman Temporary Camps, Forthcoming

Source: Historic England

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