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Historic England Research Records

Castlesteads Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 12824
Location :
Cumbria
Carlisle
Walton
Grid Ref : NY5120063500
Summary : The site of the Roman fort of Castlesteads. It was excavated in 1934, and now survives as fragmentary earthworks. The archaeological history of Castlesteads fort (at NY 5120 6350), identified as CAMBOGLANNA, has been summarised by Birley. It has suffered massive damage not only from natural causes, primarily by the erosion of the river cliff to the north-west, which has destroyed the north-west defences, but mainly by the creation of gardens and the landscaping of the area in the late 18th century, which has almost totally obliterated the remains. Almost 50% of the fort interior is overlaid by a walled garden, in which nothing has survived above ground, and the greater part of the rest is planted with deciduous trees. This was originally ornamental woodland but is now managed to a relatively low level. Part of the severely mutilated south-west defences, and possibly some barely discernible remains of the north-east rampart, can still be seen in the old woodland as an outward-facing scarp, up to 1.2m high. There is a further scarp running alongside the south-east boundary of the walled garden. The best preserved section is of the south angle in the rose garden, where the scarp is 1.6m high, but affected by landscaping. From the excavations of 1934, the fort was found to measure about 114m northeast/southwest, and, from the juxtaposition of the gates, it was seen to face north-west. Assuming that the dimension through the main axis was as long or longer than the width, then at least 25m of the fort has been lost over the edge of the river cliff. Some 60m to the north-east of the fort, in the woods, is a low scarp, 0.4m maximum height, forming a right angle. It may be the remains of a larger Roman fort, or possibly an annexe. Inscriptions show the fort was occupied by the fourth cohort of Gauls in the second century AD, and the mounted second cohort of Tungrians in the third century AD.
More information : (NY 51206350) Roman Fort (GS) (Remains of) (1)

Castlesteads is the only fort which stands in a southward deviation of the Vallum but not in contact with the Wall. The high bluff on which it is sited guards an important line of approach to the Wall and watches the east bank of the Cambeck. The Rudge cup and the Amiens skillet supply the name Uxel(l)odu(nu)m. Excavations in 1934 (3) revealed the east, west and south walls, defended by a single ditch, and the east and west double gates. The north-west front had been eroded by the Cambeck, but the fort is thought to have been originally about 400 ft square. The stone fort was not the earliest on the site; remains of a turf rampart and earlier ditch system found at the southeast angle, no doubt belong to the first fort on the line of the Wall, replacing the Stanegate fort at Old Church. The site was levelled in 1791, when the gardens of Castlesteads house were laid over it. Altars and inscribed stones (including some from other sites) are preserved in the summer-house. (See NY 56 SW 43). (2-3)

All that remains is the rampart at SW corner of the fort (see GP F/51/139), the bank within the garden is about 1.5 m high. Various items are in the summer-house - See GPs F/51/134, 135, 137, 138. (4)

Further slight traces of the rampart are visible extending eastwards from the SW corner with a maximum height of 0.6 m. Surveyed at 1:2500. The whole, however, is insignificant in terms of intelligible remains. Apart from the items in the summer house, previously noted, there is a small amount of material, including an altar, quern etc, outside the garden on the NE side. Name 'CAMBOGLANNA'? accepted for 4th edition RB Map. (5)

The archaeological history of Castlesteads fort (NY 5120 6350), identified as CAMBOGLANNA (6a), has been summarised by Birley (6b). It has suffered massive damage not only from natural causes, primarily by the erosion of the river cliff to the NW, which has destroyed the NW defences, but mainly by the creation of gardens and the landscaping of the area in the late 18th century, which has almost totally obliterated the remains. Almost 50% of the fort interior is overlaid by a walled garden, in which nothing has survived above ground, and the greater part of the rest is planted with deciduous trees. This was originally ornamental woodland but is now managed to a relatively low level. Part of the severely mutilated SW defences, and possibly some barely discernible remains of the NE rampart can still be seen in the old woodland as an outward-facing scarp, up to 1.2m high; there is a further scarp running alongside the SE boundary of the walled garden. The best preserved section is of the S angle in the rose garden, where the scarp is 1.6m high, but affected by landscaping. From the excavations of 1934 (3), the fort was found to measure about 114m NE-SW, and, from the juxtaposition of the gates, it was seen to face NW. Assuming that the dimension through the main axis was as long or longer than the width, then at least 25m of the fort has been lost over the edge of the river cliff. Some 60m to the NE of the fort, in the woods, is a low scarp, 0.4m maximum height, forming a right angle. It may be the remains of a larger Roman fort or possibly an annexe. In February-April 1991, the fort and its environs was surveyed at 1:1000 scale, and a full field account was produced, both are held in the NMR archive. (6)

Scheduled (7)

In 2007 a report on a geophysical survey showed the extent of the vicus clustered around the south of the fort, with a road running from east to west. A further previously unknown road runs to the south-east some 200m west of the vicus, towards the river Irthing and the line of Stanegate. It is significant that this major road is not aligned on the known fort, and may suggest an earlier fort to be located to the west of the accepted site. (8-9)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1957
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Bruce and Richmond, 1966. Handbook to Roman Wall 12th Edn
Page(s) : 185-7
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009
Source details :
Page(s) : 136-139
Figs. : 41
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
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Source : Castlesteads Fort/ink survey
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Source : Castlesteads Fort/pencil survey
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Source : Castlesteads Fort
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Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (Richmond and Hodgson)
Page(s) : 159-65
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 34, 1934
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 GWR 01-JUN-51
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 BHP 06-DEC-71
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Keith Blood/19-APR-1991/RCHME: Castlesteads Survey
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Source Number : 6a
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 293-4
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Source Number : 6b
Source : Research on Hadrian's Wall
Source details :
Page(s) : 203-5
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Source Number : 7
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : 'The Roman fort at Castlesteads, Cumbria: a geophysical survey of the vicus', by J A Biggins and D J A Taylor
Page(s) : 15-30
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 2007

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 28
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 5163/12
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26080
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cumbria)
External Cross Reference Number : 297
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 56 SW 34
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 14072
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 12846
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1021715
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLESTEADS
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1727-01-01
End Date : 1727-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLESTEADS
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1898-01-01
End Date : 1902-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLESTEADS (CAMBOGLANNA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1934-01-01
End Date : 1934-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 56 SW 34
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1951-06-01
End Date : 1951-06-01
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 56 SW 34
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1971-12-06
End Date : 1971-12-06
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: HADRIAN'S WALL PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1993-08-01
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: CASTLESTEADS SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1991-02-01
End Date : 1991-04-01
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLESTEADS (CAMBOGLANNA)
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31