Ancient Monuments

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Roman camp at Bent Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Newbold Astbury, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.1544 / 53°9'15"N

Longitude: -2.2454 / 2°14'43"W

OS Eastings: 383688.688978

OS Northings: 361946.03336

OS Grid: SJ836619

Mapcode National: GBR 12H.94N

Mapcode Global: WHBC0.HZ04

Entry Name: Roman camp at Bent Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1977

Last Amended: 25 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014116

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25716

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Newbold Astbury

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Astbury St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes the greater part of an earthwork Roman camp in the field
immediately to the east of Bent Farm.
The camp consists of a bank and ditch which are visible at the north west and
north east corners, with the bank and ditch traceable on the northern side
along the whole of its 160m length. The bank and ditch are intermittently
visible along the east side where they have been partly obscured by the
headland of a well defined ridge and furrow system which covers the whole of
the surviving interior.
The south side has been quarried away by a clay pit which was abandoned in the
last century and is now ploughed away to a deep hollow south of the hedge
line. This activity has removed a 20m strip of the camp's interior together
with the rampart and ditch on that side.
The western side is visible for 30m before being obscured by the later ridge
and furrow. It is assumed that the fence and activity in the adjacent orchard
and gardens on the west side has removed any further trace of the rampart and
ditch to the south of this point. The eastern side is traceable for 180m
before being cut off by the hedge and drain to the south of the field.
The area originally encompassed by the fort was 3.2ha. This site was firmly
identified as the Roman camp by a local historian, Carlidge whose grandfather
remembered filling in part of the ditch during the last century.
Excavations in 1967 and 1970 discovered that the rampart had been constructed
of large river pebbles surmounted by a clay and turf bank now spread 4m into
the interior. The bank had been 2.4m wide at the base. The single V-shaped
ditch was 3.5m wide. Traces of postholes and foundations of timber buildings
were uncovered in the interior. There were no dateable finds from the site,
although the form of the site confirms that it was a Roman military
From early accounts of the site it appears that two road alignments met the
east and west sides of the camp; the one to Middlewich and the other to
Astbury. The remains suggest a temporary camp occupied long enough to form a
focus of the local roads and for wooden buildings rather than the tented
arrangements of a marching camp.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The Roman camp at Bent Farm survives well in spite of the loss of a portion on
the south side. The survival of earthwork remains is particularly unusual in
this part of England. The bank and ditch are still defined and the bank stands
0.4m high in some places. The interior will contain extensive remains of
buildings and the pits and hollows associated with military settlement. In
addition there is a well preserved ridge and furrow system which overlies the
interior and will have preserved the remains beneath the ploughsoil.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jones, G D B, Northern History, (1968), 3-4
Watkin, W T, Roman Cheshire, (1886), 298-9
Cartlidge, J E G, 'The Cheshire Historian' in The Cheshire Historian, (1959), 24
Cheshire County Council SMR, (1994)
Folio 71 of Mss11, 338, Foote-Gower, British Museum Mss,

Source: Historic England

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