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Roman vexillation fortress 310m and 530m south of Osmanthorpe Manor

A Scheduled Monument in Edingley, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.1004 / 53°6'1"N

Longitude: -0.9876 / 0°59'15"W

OS Eastings: 467884.050703

OS Northings: 356393.932269

OS Grid: SK678563

Mapcode National: GBR 9HC.P4M

Mapcode Global: WHFHD.SBXG

Entry Name: Roman vexillation fortress 310m and 530m south of Osmanthorpe Manor

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018122

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29928

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Edingley

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Edingley

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the buried remains of Osmanthorpe Roman vexillation
fortress and is divided into two areas by the cutting of a railway. The site
is situated on the summit of a hill and affords open views of the surrounding
landscape except to the south west where visibility is limited by higher
ground. The fortress encloses the top and part of the northern side of the
hill on the south side of the valley of the River Greet.
No upstanding earthworks survive but the buried remains of the monument show
clearly as crop marks on aerial photographs. The fortress is delimitated by a
double ditch, although the remains of a third ditch are evident on the south
and west sides. The fort is almost rectangular in plan, although the north
west corner is not a right angle. This is because the defensive ditches follow
the contour of a steep natural slope giving the effect of cutting off the
corner of the fortress. Internally the fortress measures approximately 275m
north to south and 335m east to west, enclosing an area of 8.8ha.
Outside the defences on the north, east and south sides are four lengths of
ditch with overlapping ends which are comparable to features identified at
other vexillation fortresses and which are interpreted as defensive outworks.
The ditches terminate at the edge of the north and south gates of the fortress
but do not appear to respect the east gate. Within the defended area two other
parallel, linear crop marks are visible. These may represent another smaller
fort on the same site but the relationship of these with the main defences is
difficult to determine.
The fortress would have been served by what is now known as Lower Kirklington
Road which, aligned with the southern gate, runs from the south east corner
of the fort. This is believed to be a Roman road which runs in a straight line
towards the Roman site of Ad Pontem on the Fosse Way, crossing the River Trent
by a bridge at Thorpe.
All modern fences, gates and the road surface are excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath these is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman vexillation fortresses are rectangular enclosures with rounded corners
which were occupied on a temporary basis by a campaigning army of between 2500
to 4000 men comprised of varying proportions of legionary and auxiliary
troops. They were constructed as part of Roman military strategy immediately
after the conquest in AD 43, when the army had not yet established the
boundaries of its occupation, and continued to be involved in campaigns to
increase and establish its control. All sites were probably abandoned by about
AD 90.
Vexillation fortresses are defined by a single rampart of earth or turf,
usually revetted at the front and rear with turf or timber and surrounded by
one or more outer ditches. Originally a breastwork and a wallwalk of timber
would have crowned the rampart, possibly with corner and interval towers. Only
14 examples of vexillation fortresses have been recorded in England. As one of
a small group or Roman military monuments which are important in representing
army strategy, vexillation fortresses are of particular significance to our
understanding of the period and all examples with surviving archaeological
potential are considered to be of national importance.

Osmanthorpe vexillation fortress is a rare example of this type of monument in
Nottinghamshire. The aerial photographic evidence and archaeological
documentation of the site confirms the survival of extensive buried remains
and their diversity. Taken as a whole Osmanthorpe vexillation fortress will
considerably enhance our understanding of the Roman occupation of the area and
the impact it had on the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Maxwell, G, Wilson, D, 'Britannia. A journal of Romano-British and kindred studies' in Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-84, , Vol. XVIII, (1987), 9-10
Riley, D, 'Britannia. A journal of Romano-British and kindred studies' in Two New Roman Military Stations In Mid-Nottinghamshire, , Vol. XI, (1980), 330-332

Source: Historic England

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