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Troutbeck Roman fort and annexe

A Scheduled Monument in Hutton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6361 / 54°38'10"N

Longitude: -2.9581 / 2°57'29"W

OS Eastings: 338252.45977

OS Northings: 527200.67393

OS Grid: NY382272

Mapcode National: GBR 7GST.CV

Mapcode Global: WH817.JQLQ

Entry Name: Troutbeck Roman fort and annexe

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1974

Last Amended: 30 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010827

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23755

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Hutton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Mungrisdale

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Troutbeck Roman fort located at a strategic position on
high ground at the head 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. The fort is crossed by the old Penrith - Keswick trunk road and is
thus divided into two separate areas. A combination of aerial photographs and
field survey undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of
England indicates the presence of an annexe on the south eastern side of the
fort and traces of a road and external earthworks on the western side. The
fort is rectangular in plan with rounded corners and measures approximately
120m by 110m internally. Its defences consist of a rampart and ditch
originally on all sides but now partially destroyed by roadbuilding on the
south side. The rampart measures up to 9m wide and 1.8m high and is best
preserved on the eastern side. The ditch, although partially silted up,
remains visible on the west and north east sides where it measures up to 6m
wide by 0.25m deep. The fort would originally have had an entrance on each
side but only the eastern and western gateways remain visible. On the south
eastern side of the fort there is the east rampart and ditch of an associated
rectangular annexe which measured approximately 85m by 65m. On the western
side of the fort a road issues from the gateway and runs in a south west
direction for a short distance before becoming buried by earth from modern
road construction. Immediately north of this Roman road are faint traces of
two low sub-rectangular earthworks of uncertain function separated by a narrow
track or passageway. Internally the fort has been divided almost on its median
line by a north-south rampart with a ditch on its western side. This
represents modification of the original fort for a second phase of occupation
by a smaller garrison. Limited archaeological excavation across the defences
on the western side of the larger earlier fort found it to have been
constructed of earth and timber.
The fort is thought to date to the late first/early second century AD and
during its initial period of occupation would have been garrisoned by a unit
of auxiliary troops about 500 strong employed in policing the area, and in
particular controlling access into the northern Lakes. The garrison appears to
have been reduced in size after a short period of time and the present lack of
evidence for a vicus or civilian settlement outside the fort suggests that the
length of occupation was limited.
The A66(T) has been re-routed and now runs through a cutting to the immediate
south of the fort. This new road alignment is not depicted on the map
All field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath these features is included.

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 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

Despite being crossed by a modern road which divides the monument into two,
the Roman fort at Troutbeck survives reasonably well. It is one of a group of
Roman sites in the immediate vicinity, the others being three camps, and
played an important military role in the policing of the Lake District and its
indigenous population and controlling access into the northern Lakes. Limited
excavation at Troutbeck showed that the fort was an earth and timber
construction founded in the late first/early second century and, despite
having two phases of occupation, its short lifespan makes this a rare example
of an earth and timber Roman fort which was not subsequently rebuilt in stone.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 20
RCHME, Roman Temporary Camps, Forthcoming

Source: Historic England

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