Ancient Monuments

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Site of Roman fort and settlement 400m north of Brickyard Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Roecliffe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0943 / 54°5'39"N

Longitude: -1.4103 / 1°24'37"W

OS Eastings: 438662.193973

OS Northings: 466646.170794

OS Grid: SE386666

Mapcode National: GBR LPL3.G2

Mapcode Global: WHD97.9CN3

Entry Name: Site of Roman fort and settlement 400m north of Brickyard Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017565

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29533

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Roecliffe

Built-Up Area: Roecliffe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes the site of a Roman fort and adjacent settlement. It is
located on a raised river terrace, south of a bend of the River Ure to the
west of Boroughbridge. The monument was identified by geophysical survey and
the presence and nature of the remains were confirmed by a series of
excavations adjacent to the monument. The geophysical survey revealed three
sides of rectangular, double ditched enclosure with rounded corners
characteristic of Roman forts. A road was revealed extending east-west to the
north of the fort which was connected to it by a short spur-road. Also
revealed by the survey were defensive outworks beyond the road and settlement
which take the form of concentric and overlapping lengths of ditch, a
characteristic additional defence associated with first century AD military
The settlement lies to the east and north of the fort, where a series of
tracks, ditches and buildings were identified. The survey results were tested
by excavations carried out along the the east edge of the monument. These
produced detailed evidence of sections of the road and the outwork defences
and some timber buildings from the external settlement. Pits were also
excavated which produced evidence of industrial activity, particularly metal-
working. The excavations also showed traces of earlier Roman occupation near
to the river. This area was prone to flooding and the fort was thus
constructed on the raised ground further back from the river. The excavations
produced pottery, coins and artefacts, including body armour fittings and
coins which date the site to the first century AD.
The fort was established in the late first century AD to guard a crossing
point of the river. It was probably built shortly after AD 71 when
Petillius Cerealis began his push north into the territory of the native
Brigantes. The fort only had a short life span, being abandoned in AD 85.
After this date a fort was established at nearby Aldborough where the Roman
road from York to Scotland known as Dere Street crossed the River Ure.
All fences, gates and walls are excluded from the scheduling, 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

Settlements often bacame established adjacent to many Roman forts. These were
mostly civilian centres which comprised shops, private houses, workshops and
multi-purpose buildings arranged around an irregular network of lanes. The
settlements developed to serve the adjacent military site and included
important buildings such as a bath house, guest house and temple as well as
being the camps of traders and merchants providing goods to moneyed troops.
Although such settlements were civilian, administrativly they were subordinate
to the military authority represented by the fort and most were occupied only
during the period in which the fort was in use.
Although no longer visible as an earthwork, evidence of the Roman fort and
associated settlement is known to survive as below ground remains. Important
evidence of the form and function of buildings within the fort and the
settlement will be preserved. The monument offers important scope for
understanding the early years of the Roman occupation in northern England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bishop, M C, A New Flavian Militay Site at Roecliffe North Yorkshire, (1997)
Bishop, M C, A New Flavian Militay Site at Roecliffe North Yorkshire, (1997)
Bishop, M C, 'CBA Forum' in The Roecliffe Military Complex, (1993), 27
Bishop, M C, 'CBA Forum' in The Roecliffe Military Complex, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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