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Historic England Research Records

Kirkbride Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 10048
Location :
Cumbria
Allerdale
Kirkbride
Grid Ref : NY2295057320
Summary : The site of Kirkbride Roman fort. Excavation suggested it was of Flavian date (circa 80 AD). It formed part of the Stanegate Frontier and was presumably abandoned after the construction of Hadrian's Wall. The fort measured approximately 190 metres by 175 metres and was defended by a turf rampart 9 metres wide with double outer ditches. Industrial evidence of lead and iron working was present. Excavations also uncovered the site of the vicus. Traces of roads leading into the fort from the north and east and part of the north intervallum road are seen on air photographs.
More information : [NY 22955732] Roman Fort [GS] [Site of] (1)

The Church at Kirkbride (built of re-used Roman stones) stands on a rectangular platform, around which are traces of a moat or fosse. 'The upper and lower moats....may still be traced on the western side' of the church. 'No less than three ancient roads, at some depth from the present surface, one of sand, one of gravel, and one paved, this last is about three feet below the surface and as far as can be traced they all run from South to North. The paved one goes up to the site of the church....Roman pottery....has frequently been found in parts of the churchyard, and in the adjoining land, also some ancient British pottery, and Saxon beads. (2-4)

Trial pits dug in 1961-2 in the walled garden (NY 23005728) disclosed clay and cobble bases for stone walls, Samian ware and a possible road, all presumably within the fort, and disturbed by modern field drains etc. A line of trial pits running due east from the NE corner of the walled garden showed similar finds, but the number of finds increased as the excavations progressed towards the east, the pottery indicating a 1st century occupation. It is considered by Birley that the site represents - 'A' A relatively large Flavian fort, which may have been founded as early as AD 80.
'B' A smaller site, incorporated in the Hadrianic system and in occupation until the end of the 3rd century. One of probably several garrison stations which could be used to man the wall in the event of attack. (5-6)

The Roman fort at Kirkbride was excavated in 1976 by R Bellhouse and dates from the Trajanic period. It is situated south of the church and is visible at APs. Short sections of road can be identified going SSE towards the disused railway, and NW towards the river. There is no evidence of more than one fort. (7)

Excavation and investigation between 1963 and 1977 revealed furnaces with evidence of lead and iron working, and occupation was shown to extend west of the church. In 1976 with the aid of air photographs (by C D B Jones) and resistivity survey (by C Melville) trenches were placed to locate the north and east ramparts of the Flavian fort, thought to measure 168m. east west by 138m north south over the ramparts, enclosing an area of 2.3 hectares. A section across the east defences immediately south of the gate in 1977 revealed two ditches, a turf rampart, the intervallum road and traces of timber buildings. Near the outer ditch lip was an extra mural building fronting the road. Pottery recovered dates the fort to circa 80-120 AD. Geophysical surveys have indicated probable walls, the main north-south road and kilns. The east road (RRX122) was traced for 200m. (Site not visible on OS air photographs 1968, and no remains (as indicated by Authy's 2-4) shown on OS 6" 1868). (8-12)

[For Neolithic flints found on the site see NY 25 NW 6] (13)

[NY 22955732]. Excavations and investigation between 1970-78 established the course of the intervallum road from the north gate to the east gate (see plan). The internal road from the east gate and the north-south internal road were also clearly defined. In 1976 a survey confirmed the location of the north gate. The north-east corner of the intervallum road showed up clearly and was traced southwards as far as the east gate. Evidence of the survey was confirmed by a trial trench. Surveys in 1977-78 established that the north-south internal road is continuous from the north gate, and position of the south-east corner and south gate. This survey also revealed a stony foundation, 6m in diameter, thought to be a tower, 22m south of the east gate. (see plan, 'P'). The variety of finds include fragments of mortaria, flagons, rough-cast beakers, plain and figured Samian Ware, bowls and glass. Also found were fragments of iron nails, a lead object, possibly a plumb bob, and three leather pieces, with ten small straps. (14)

NY 229574 Kirkbride Roman site, scheduled. (15)

Kirkbride Roman fort, part of associated vicus and length of Roman Road, 370m SE of Whitrigg Bridge. (16)

Traces of roads leading into the fort from the north (NY 25 NW 18) and east and part of the north intervallum road were seen as cropmarks on air photographs. The road leading into the fort from the east is probably part of RRX 122 (Linear 681). To the east of the fort a stretch of road (NY 25 NW 17) lies perpendicular to RRX 122 and may form part of the route to the fort at Drumburgh, although it does not align with the proposed route to this fort, RR 869 (Linear 305). The road leading north from Kirkbride Fort may have lead to the fort at Bowness. No trace of the fort's defences or internal features were seen on available air photographs. (17)

Air photograph showing an enclosure outside the fort. (18)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (19)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 25" 1926
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 146
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1889
Source Number : 10a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf: R Bellhouse
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 423-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9, 1978
Source Number : 12
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : DOE (IAM) Record Form Feb 1977
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : R3 DJG 21-JAN-80
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 14
Source : The Trajanic fort at Kirkbride; the terminus of the Stanegate frontier
Source details :
Page(s) : 35-50
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 82
Source Number : 15
Source : County list of Scheduled Monuments : March 1994
Source details : Cumbria
Page(s) : 6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 21-Jan-99
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY 2357/2 (GBJ 13482/21) 01-JAN-1975
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Hadrian's Wall from the air
Source details :
Page(s) : 66-7
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 18
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY 2257/1 (GBJ 13482/19) 01-JAN-1975
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 350
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1925
Source Number : 19
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (W Whellan)
Page(s) : 248
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1860
Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 126-39
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 63, 1963
Source Number : 6
Source : History
Source details : (I A Richmond)
Page(s) : 4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 44, 1959
Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : G D B Jones, Manchester Univ, 22.10.76
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 58-90
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 75, 1975
Source Number : 9
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 3: Archaeological newsbulletin for Northumberland, Cumberland, Durham, Westmorland and Lancashire-north-of-the-sands
Source details : (R L Bellhouse and G G S Richardson)
Page(s) : 11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1977
Source Number : 10
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 377
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1977

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 122
Monument Start Date : 80
Monument Type : Fort, Iron Furnace, Lead Furnace, Vicus, Road
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Conjectural Evidence, Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 503
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cumbria)
External Cross Reference Number : 380
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27833
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 25 NW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1031507
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1327320
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1364013
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1364016
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKBRIDE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1961-01-01
End Date : 1964-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KIRKBRIDE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE GLEBE, KIRKBRIDE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: HADRIAN'S WALL WHS MAPPING PROJECT, NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31