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Roman fort, two Roman fortlets, two Roman camps, a section of Roman road and a medieval settlement and chapel at Chew Green

A Scheduled Monument in Jedburgh and District, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.3703 / 55°22'12"N

Longitude: -2.335 / 2°20'6"W

OS Eastings: 378864.557462

OS Northings: 608525.197814

OS Grid: NT788085

Mapcode National: GBR D64B.8Q

Mapcode Global: WH8Z6.38CX

Entry Name: Roman fort, two Roman fortlets, two Roman camps, a section of Roman road and a medieval settlement and chapel at Chew Green

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015847

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28538

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Jedburgh and District

Traditional County: Northumberland


The monument includes the remains of two temporary camps, two Roman fortlets,
a Roman fort, a section of Dere Street and a deserted settlement and chapel of
medieval date, situated on a narrow, near level spur on the left bank of the
River Coquet. The remains clearly represent occupation of the site over
several hundred years although the sequence of construction of the Roman
remains is poorly understood despite part excavation in 1936-7.

The most southerly of the two temporary camps is also the largest feature at
Chew Green. The camp is roughly square in shape and encloses an area of 7.7ha,
within a rampart which varies in height between 0.1m at the north eastern side
to 2m high on the south eastern side, above the surrounding ditch which is
2.5m wide and a maximum of 0.4m deep. In places the line of the defences are
obscured by the counterscarp bank of the later fort, and in other areas the
line of the buried ditch is visible as vegetation mark. There are gateways
through three of the sides, except the north east where the likely position of
a gateway here is obscured by the defences of the later fort. The gateways are
visible as gaps through the rampart and ditch; the north western gateway
displays traces of an internal clavicula, a curved extension of the rampart
intended to give added defence.

Part excavation of this temporary camp in 1937 uncovered what was interpreted
as the ditch of a Roman fortlet, 0.2ha in area, which was subsequently
constructed over the south eastern quarter of the temporary camp, immediately
adjacent to Dere Street. There are no surface remains of this fortlet which it
is thought was demolished during the Roman period in order to facilitate the
construction of a second fortlet, although it does survive beneath ground
level as a buried feature.

A second temporary camp lies immediately north of and partly overlies the
north wall of the first thus indicating that it is later in date than the
first. The full outline of this camp is visible and it survives partly as an
upstanding earthwork and partly as a buried feature. The camp is a
parallelogram in shape and encloses an area of 5.5ha. The surrounding rampart
is 2.5m wide and stands between 0.1m to 1.4m high above the bottom of the
surrounding ditch which is 2.3m wide and a maximum of 0.7m deep. There are at
least three visible gateways each of which are protected by a traverse, a
detached length of rampart and ditch placed across the external face of the
entrance at a distance of 4m to 6m intended to block the direct line of entry.
The surviving three traverses vary in height between 0.3m to 0.6m and the
ditches are on average 2m wide.

Placed within the earlier temporary camp there are the well preserved remains
of a Roman fort. This fort encloses an area of 2.7ha within a rampart 3.6m
wide and stands to a maximum height of 3m; it is surrounded by a ditch 3m wide
and 1.3m deep. Each of the four sides contains a gateway, all of which, except
that through the north eastern side, has an internal clavicula and a causeway
across the ditch. The south western gate also has an external traverse.
Visible remains within the interior of the fort suggest that it was occupied
on a semi-permanent basis; these remains include traces of an internal road
system and a series of nine pits, thought to represent the remains of building

Immediately east of this fort there are the prominent remains of a strongly
defended fortlet. The fortlet is roughly square in shape enclosing an area of
0.3ha. It is strongly defended by a substantial principal rampart and a broad
berm; surrounding these features there are two additional but weaker ramparts
and three ditches. There is a gateway through the north eastern side of the
camp. Two enclosures immediately south east of this fortlet are interpreted
as annexes, the most north westerly of which is earlier than the fortlet as it
runs beneath it.

The complex at Chew Green lies immediately adjacent to the Roman road known as
Dere Street, constructed during the first century AD by the first governor of
Britain, Julius Agricola, in order to facilitate the conquest northwards. The
road is visible as the intermittent prominent remains of the mound of the
agger which is on average 5m wide.

Situated between, and in some areas overlying the Roman camps and forts at
Chew Green, are the remains of a deserted medieval settlement including a
medieval chapel. Areas of the settlement were uncovered during the part
excavation of the Roman features in 1936-7; medieval pottery of broadly 13th
to 15th century date was also recovered. The remains of this settlement are
visible as a series of rectangular platforms which are thought to have
contained rectangular buildings and smaller garths up to 0.5m high, many of
which are thought to have functioned as stock pens. A larger enclosure bounded
by high banks and clearly part of the settlement is situated alongside the
River Coquet. The footings of a rectangular structure are situated upon the
earthwork remains of Dere Street immediately south of the point where it
crosses the Chew Sike. Documents attest to the importance of the site as a
resting place for travellers and drovers crossing the hills into and out of
Scotland, and as early as 1249 it was established as a location for the formal
settlement of cross border criminal cases. A rectangular structure situated on
the north east bank of the Chew Sike immediately adjacent to Dere Street and
its successors is known from documentary sources to be the site of the Chew
Green Inn.

A rectangular building situated in the centre of the semi-permanent fortlet
was excavated in 1883 and was interpreted as a small Norman chapel. It
measures 18m by 9m and its walls stand to a height of 1m. In 1889 the
discovery of a stone cross near the chapel by a local shepherd lends support
to the interpretation of this building, although the exact provenance of
the cross is unknown. The cross is now held in the Museum of the Society of
Antiquities of Newcastle upon Tyne. By 1550 the medieval settlement at Chew
Green was known as Kemylpeth when it was named in a survey, and an earlier
document of 1456 refers to a Kemblepath.

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

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

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
parapets. 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 the fortlet varies
from place to place; some were positioned to guard river crossings or roads
while 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.

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 11 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 the 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.

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced into Britain by the
Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province
and its subsequent administration. In addition, throughout the Roman period
and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became the foci for
settlement and industry. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after
the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have
continued in use up to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath
modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman
road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a
broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded material. The second
usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three
successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the
sides of the roads, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs,
kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with
the original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south
west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and
extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the
period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil
engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A
high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be
worthy of protection.

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.

This monument lies in the Cheviot sub-Province of the Northern and Western
Province, the upland mass straddling the English-Scottish border. The sub-
Province has not been sub-divided and forms a single local region. Settlement
is now largely absent, but the area is characterised by the remains of linear
dykes, field boundaries, cultivation terraces and buildings which bear
witness to the advance and retreat of farming, both cultivation and stock
production, over several thousand years. The distinctive, difficult upland
environment means that many of the medieval settlement sites relate to
specialist enterprises, once closely linked to settlement located in the
adjacent lowlands, such as shielings, but the extensive remains of medieval
arable farming raise many unanswered questions about medieval land use and
settlement, touching economic, climatic and population change.

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of
furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the
pre-Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and
were generally divided into two main parts; the nave, which provided
accommodation for the laity and chancel, which was the main domain of the
priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were
built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship
built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the
main parish church. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in
ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities declined
or disappeared. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features
of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as
being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively
identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often
left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about their
nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

The Roman military complex at Chew Green is very well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to any study of the
Roman military north. The continued use of Dere Street as a major medieval
thoroughfare, and the development of a medieval settlement and the
construction of a chapel will contribute to our understanding of post-Roman
settlement in the region.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Welfare, H, Swan, V, Roman Camps in England: The Field Evidence, (1995), 85-90
Welfare, H, Swan, V, Roman Camps in England: The Field Evidence, (1995), 85-90
Welfare, H, Swan, V, Roman Camps in England: The Field Evidence, (1995), 85-90
NT70NE 03,
NT70NE 04,
NZ70NE 04,

Source: Historic England

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