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Navio Roman fort and vicus

A Scheduled Monument in Brough and Shatton, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3408 / 53°20'26"N

Longitude: -1.7285 / 1°43'42"W

OS Eastings: 418175.518742

OS Northings: 382691.483629

OS Grid: SK181826

Mapcode National: GBR JYCT.L4

Mapcode Global: WHCCM.F946

Entry Name: Navio Roman fort and vicus

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017505

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29795

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Brough and Shatton

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Hope St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Navio Roman fort at
Brough as well as part of its associated vicus or civilian settlement. The
fort stands on a sandstone shale bluff overlooking the confluence of the River
Noe and the Bradwell Brook at the northern end of Bradwell Dale. The
watercourses form natural defences to the north and east of the fort.
The fort is rectangular in plan and measures approximately 90m by 105m. It
stands on the higher part of the bluff. The plan of the fort is easily
identified: the four sides are evidenced by raised earthen banks around an
earthen platform which slopes gently to the north east. These banks indicate
the position of the external walls of the fort. The monument has been
extensively robbed of stone to the extent that only rough foundations of turf
and rubble can be seen on the south east and south west sides. The north
east and north west sides of the fort survive as grassed embankments.
The north eastern fort wall has slumped a little but remains well defined and
overlooks a small spit of land bounded by a meander in the River Noe. The
northern corner of the fort have been eroded by river action as has the
eastern corner where erosion has exposed and removed rubble from the fort
wall. The south eastern wall of the fort is the lowest but some stones visible
here may be original foundation stones. These stones appear water worn and
include both limestone and sandstone blocks. The south western wall of the
fort remains clearly visible as a turf-covered bank. A ditch running close to
the wall may be an original drain running from the fort or a later drainage
ditch. The north western fort wall is also clearly visible as an earthwork
bank although this has been worn where a track passes through approximately on
its mid point.
The central area of the fort contains several platforms, hollows and linear
features with a central lynchet which may be associated with the later track
which runs through the site. An intermittent hollow runs from the centre of
the north towards the north east and may be the remains of a collapsed or open
Roman drain. Alternatively it may be the evidence of recent excavation. Near
the centre of the fort a pile of large dressed Millstone Grit slabs remain
visible. These exhibit diamond broaching, evidence of a characteristic Roman
way of dressing worked building stone. The slabs sit in a sub rectangular
hollow which was excavated in 1903 and found to be the underground chamber
of the Principia or headquarters building.
Further remains of the buildings which originally occupied the fort will
survive well across the rest of its interior. To the immediate north west of
the fort is a small earthen platform. Its relationship to the fort is not yet
fully understood but buried remains offer potential for investigation at this
The area to the south east of the fort includes remains the remains of part of
the civilian settlement or vicus attached to the fort. A series of platforms
and hollows indicate that the remains of buildings survive below ground. The
raised agger of a Roman road is also still visible in the vicus area and
survives as a raised flat-topped bank 4m to 5m wide. It runs across the vicus
from the south west but then turns sharply to the north west near the fort to
run into it. The full extent of the vicus is not fully understood although it
did extend further to the south east into the area now occupied by the modern
settlement of Brough. Artefacts found in the area of the present settlement
suggest that a cemetery originally flanked the Roman road here. Whether the
vicus extended to the south west of the fort remains unclear as land in this
area has been much improved in the recent past thus removing any earthwork
There have been several partial excavations and surveys of the fort and vicus
during the present century. These excavations determined that there were four
phases of building on the site beginning with the first fort c.AD 80. The
fort was briefly abandoned c.AD 125 and re-established in AD 154-158. An
inscription shows that the main headquarters buildings, the Principia, was
constructed c.AD 158. The first phase of the fort was an earthern and
wooden construction, but succeeding phases incorporated stone buildings,
towers, gates ramparts and granaries. The fort continued in use until AD
350 but was then abandoned.
The buildings of the vicus appear to have housed various commercial and
industrial activities and were established shortly after the first fort was
built. Enclosures surrounding some of the buildings indicate that there were
also gardens or allotments attached to them. The vicus appears to have
been abandoned at the same time as the fort during the 4th century.
The fort guarded the principal route from the north east and north west of
England as well as the road which ran southwards into the lead producing
areas of the Peak District.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, gates and stiles, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

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

The remains of Navio Roman fort and its associated vicus survive well and it
is the best preserved fort in this area of Midland England. It will
contribute to studies of the Roman conquest of this area and to the subsequent
pattern of Roman military control in the area.
The fort shows evidence that much archaeological material exists below ground.
There is also shows good evidence for the survival of the vicus, a settlement
area subsistent on the fort although not part of the military infrastructure.
Such evidence of relatively undisturbed settlement is rare and important to
the understanding of the relationship between the Roman military and civilian

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 82-108
Dearne, M J (ed), 'British Archaeological Reports (BAR)' in Navio: The Fort And Vicus At Brough-on-Noe, Derbyshire., , Vol. 234, (1993)
Jones, G D B, Wild, J P, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Excavations at Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1968, (1968), 89-93
Jones, G D B, Wild, J P, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Excavations at Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1968, (1968), 89-93
Jones, G D B, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Manchester University Excavations: Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1967, (1967), 154-8
Jones, G D B, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Manchester University Excavations: Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1967, (1967), 154-8
Derbyshire SMR, Brough, Roman Fort,
Derbyshire SMR, Derbyshire SMR: Brough, Roman Fort,

Source: Historic England

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