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Roman fort 300m east of Drayton Lodge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Shifnal, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6842 / 52°41'3"N

Longitude: -2.355 / 2°21'18"W

OS Eastings: 376097.594204

OS Northings: 309672.446272

OS Grid: SJ760096

Mapcode National: GBR 06M.RDR

Mapcode Global: WH9D4.SSRL

Entry Name: Roman fort 300m east of Drayton Lodge Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1973

Last Amended: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020283

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34909

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Shifnal

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Shifnal St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of a Roman fort. It is located 1.2km
south of Watling Street, the present A5, and 2km south west of the Roman
marching camps at Burlington, which are the subject of a separate scheduling.
The fort is situated on gently sloping ground, which rises to the south, and
is overlooked by low hills to the north and east. From this location Watling
Street and the sites of the Roman marching camps at Burlington cannot be seen.
The fort was discovered during aerial reconnaisance and has been recorded from
aerial photographs taken over the last 30 years. It is rectangular in shape
with a roughly triangular annex to the east. Its overall dimensions are
approximately 155m north-south by 205m east-west. An internal rampart, now no
longer visible as an earthwork, defines a rectangular area of about 0.9ha. The
rampart is surrounded by four ditches, now infilled but surviving as buried
features. The two innermost ditches on the northern side are partly overlain
by a modern farm track. At the mid-point on the eastern side the two middle
ditches turn at right angles to form an entrance causeway about 15m wide. The
adjacent ditch to the east, which separates the main body of the fort from the
annex, is slightly angled in relation to the causeway. The ditch defining the
annex has also been infilled, but survives as a buried feature.

The size of the fort indicates that it was built to accommodate an auxiliary
unit of 500 infantry - a Cohors quingenaria peditata. From its topographical
location it would appear that the fort was established at the time of the
Claudian military advance into this area, about AD 47, thus predating Watling
Street, which was constructed around AD 50. The fort is also considered to
have been built about the same time as the auxiliary fort at Wroxeter, nearly
20km to the west, which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

The surface of the farm track is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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
important.

Despite modification of the defences, the Roman fort 300m east of Drayton
Lodge Farm is a good example of its class. It is believed to date to the
earliest stages of the Roman military advance into the western midlands of
England, and is therefore of particular importance to the understanding of the
conquest of this area by the Roman forces.

The buried remains of structural features, including the headquarters
building, commanding officer's house, barrack blocks and storehouses, all
probably built from wood, are expected to survive within the interior. The
very pronounced soil and crop marks seen from the air of the infilled ditches
indicate that they survive well, and may be waterlogged in part. Within the
ditch fills a range of artefacts and organic remains, associated with the
occupation of the fort, are likely to be preserved. In addition, organic
remains surviving in the ditches will provide valuable evidence about the
local environment and the use of the surrounding land at the time the fort was
constructed and subsequently.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
White, R, Dalwood, H, 'Central Marches Historic Towns report' in Archaeological assessment of Wroxeter, Shropshire, (1996), 2
Other
Olique APs and a vertical AP in SMR,
White, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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