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Roman minor town identified as Derventio

A Scheduled Monument in Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9819 / 53°58'54"N

Longitude: -0.9249 / 0°55'29"W

OS Eastings: 470602.758383

OS Northings: 454513.99281

OS Grid: SE706545

Mapcode National: GBR PQZD.KC

Mapcode Global: WHFC5.R5SR

Entry Name: Roman minor town identified as Derventio

Scheduled Date: 11 April 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1416328

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Stamford Bridge

Built-Up Area: Stamford Bridge

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Stamford Bridge St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: York


Buried remains of part of a Roman minor town thought to have been called Derventio, mainly characterised by rectilinear ditched enclosures extending back from road frontages, the settlement extending to both sides of the River Derwent. The full extent of the settlement remains unknown, and is believed to have extended further to both east and west, and is overlain by the modern Stamford Bridge to the north.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: buried remains of part of a Roman minor town mainly characterised by rectilinear ditched enclosures extending back from road frontages.

DESCRIPTION: the monument extends across relatively low lying, undulating ground to the south and south east of the modern settlement of Stamford Bridge, including both part of the flood plain of the River Derwent, and higher ground that is mainly arable. Surface geology is generally of clayey alluvium overlain with wind-blown sands.

A Roman road that approaches from York (identified via cropmarks and observed in excavations on both sides of the river) extends from the south western corner of the monument, eastwards to the river which it is thought to have crossed via a bridge: the find of a large dressed stone block on the western bank (now lost) may have represented part of an abutment. On the other side of the river, the road continues eastwards, with a second road branching off it to the north east, aligning with the modern day Low Catton Road as it enters Stamford Bridge: this road, which continued to Malton, is thought to have intersected with the road between Brough and Thirsk that crossed the Derwent via the natural ford to the north west of Stamford Bridge. Within the monument the roads are flanked by rectilinear enclosures that generally extend back from the frontage by up to 150m yet many are only around 20m wide. Field walking finds are generally concentrated within about 50m of the road frontage, marking the typical extent of buildings and associated refuse disposal. Small scale excavation on the western side of the river identified stone footings interpreted as supports for sill beams of a couple of timber framed buildings orientated at right angles to the road. A stone lined well complete with a surrounding gravel surface (an in situ Roman ground surface) was also identified close by. Further to the west, near to the river, evidence of first century metalworking was also found via excavation.

On the eastern side of the river, excavation to the south of the road identified a number of clay lined pits interpreted as watering holes, three kilns identified as crop drying or malting kilns along with a number of post holes, ditches and other features. Scattered across the area there were also two cremation and five inhumation burials. These were not interpreted as part of a formal cemetery (which has yet to be identified at Derventio), but thought to have been backyard burials. Other finds indicated further metalworking activity (including tap slag indicating iron smelting using relatively advanced bloomery furnaces) as well as the likely presence of animal-powered corn-milling within the vicinity. Smaller scale excavations elsewhere across the site have uncovered partially plough truncated ditch and gully features and post holes. A well preserved section of Roman road retaining cobbling has also been uncovered (and then reburied) just to the east of Low Catton Road.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: this is mainly focused on the area of the town identified via cropmarks, but extended to adjacent areas of good archaeological potential such as the flood plain of the River Derwent, and south to Smackdam Beck (thought to have been the southern limit of the settlement). Although the Roman settlement extended northwards, the area now beneath the modern Stamford Bridge is not included in the scheduling. The extent of Roman remains to the east of modern Stamford Bridge is currently uncertain and has thus not been included. Similarly the western extent of the settlement (and the postulated site of a Roman fort) is currently unknown so the boundary of the monument is currently defined by modern boundaries, even though nationally important archaeological remains are thought to extend for an unknown distance beyond. A field on the southern edge of Stamford Bridge has also been excluded from the scheduling. Here archaeological investigations have suggested a higher degree of plough damage than elsewhere, and although in situ archaeological remains do survive, at least in the eastern part of the field, there is currently insufficient evidence to support the inclusion of the field within the scheduled area. However these investigations were limited and inconclusive, and archaeological remains that contribute to the national importance of the monument remain here.

EXCLUSIONS: all modern features such as fencing, sheds and other structures such as flood lights, animal feeding and watering troughs, and road or path surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

* Period: as an example of a Roman settlement, which is thought not to have been an official Roman town, but one which developed a distinct urban character setting it apart from more common rural settlements;
* Complexity of development: despite there being an incomplete understanding of the settlement's extent and development, enough is known to show that it was a very early Roman settlement which was occupied and developed through into the fourth century, with a good range of activities represented;
* Survival: although largely ploughed, the areas included in the scheduling are those where in situ Roman archaeology is thought to remain below the plough soil, this degree of survival being equivalent to other scheduled crop mark sites across lowland England.
* Potential: the extensive area of the remains indicates a heightened potential for the survival of a particularly wide range of Roman remains, both in terms of time depth and range of features. It also includes areas expected to retain water-logged organic deposits. However even those areas where finds are now within the plough soil retain good potential to add to our understanding.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Northern Archaeological Associates' in Bronze Age Burnt Mound and a Romano-British Settlement Site at Stamford Bridge, East Yorkshire, (2003)
'CBA Forum' in The Roman Roads around Stamford Bridge, (1997), 23-29
'Humber Archaeology Report No. 275' in Archaeological Recording Works at High Catton Road, Stamford Bridge, (2008)
Lawton, I, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Society Bulletin No. 19' in Gray Ware Production at Derventio, Stamford Bridge, (2002), 3-5
Derventio: A Roman Settlement at North Farm and Reckondale, Stamford Bridge an update, Lawton, Ian, Derventio: A Roman Settlement at North Farm and Reckondale, Stamford Bridge an update,
Evaluation reports: Land West of Low Catton Road, Stamford Bridge, Evaluation reports: Land West of Low Catton Road, Stamford Bridge, MAP Archaeological Practice, (2013)
MAP Archaeology Practice, Land West of Low Catton Road, Archaeological Evaluation, 2013,
Roman Heated Building at Derventio, Stamford Bridge, Lawton, Ian, Roman Heated Building at Derventio, Stamford Bridge, (2004)

Source: Historic England

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