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Historic England Research Records

Habitancum Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 16913
Location :
Northumberland
Northumberland
Corsenside
Grid Ref : NY8903086210
Summary : The site of Habitancum Roman fort at Risingham. The fort lies next to Dere Street and close to the River Rede, and is enclosed by a substantial rampart and wall. It measures 135 metres north-west to south-east, by 117 metres north-east to south-west. The fort originated in the Antonine period, was destroyed in circa 197 AD, and rebuilt under Severus in the early 3rd century on a different orientation. The remains surviving as earthworks belong to the Severan and later periods. Excavations discovered an inscribed stone recording the construction of the fort by a 1000 strong mounted cohort (one of the ten units of a Roman legion). The fort was destroyed in the late 3rd century and rebuilt in the early 4th century. It was again destroyed in late 4th century. A possible vicus was also present outside the fort, and a medieval settlement later occupied the site.
More information : (NY 89038621) Risingham (NAT) Habitancum (R) Roman Fort (R)
Coins etc found (NAT)

(NY 89098618) Wall (R) (Remains of) (NAT)

(NY 89108618) Baths (R) (Site of) Excavated AD 1840 (NAT) (1)

Habitancum, a Roman fort having four occupation phases (2).

Antonine (AD 138-192) Indicated by a layer of ashes and 2nd century sherds found under the west rampart of the existing fort.Probably destroyed about AD 197.

Severan (AD 193-211) Built on the same site as the Antonine fort in AD 205-8, but the defences, which formed a rectangle 402ft by 482ft with rounded corners, did not follow the same lines. The only known gateway of this period is in the S side (a) and the only building is the bath-house in the SE corner (b). Probably destroyed in the late 3rd century AD. Reconstructed by Constantius (AD 305-6); completed about AD 306.

A west gate was cut in the Severan wall and this led to the centre of the newly built principia (2). Destroyed by fire probably in AD 343 (a). Rebuilt and re-occupied for long enough to induce heavy wear on the floors and the thresholds.

Dating depends on camparative materials and no precise conclusion can be reached from the meagre finds, but it was probably finally destroyed in the raids of AD 367-9.(2).

Excavations were made on the bath-house by Shanks in 1839-42 (b). The principia was excavated in 1840 (c) and again in 1849 by Robson (2).

Eighteen altars and 7 dedication slabs were found in and around the fort. One of the altars (No 1225) contained a reference to the name of the fort as did one of the dedication slabs (No 1235) (3).

The large number of civilian inscribed stones found at Habitancum empasises the fact that outside the fort lay an extra-mural community (vicus) probably more numerous than the troops. (2-3)

The fort walls are robbed of facing stones, except at the NE corner, leaving an earth and rubble bank with an internal height of 0.5-1.2m and external height of 2.5-3.5m; the interval turrets are only visible as a slight thickening. The W and S gates are represented by gaps in the bank on the N side may by another entrance. There are no traces of the baths in the SE corner and all that remains of the principia is a mutilated bank and a depression. Adjoining the probably course of Dere Street and 75.0m SSE of the causeway from the west gate of the fort, is what is probably the steading of a small building, which is possibly Roman. The fort, which is generally in good condition, is under pasture. (4)

Generally as described by Authority 4, except that the remains of Ore principia are no longer visible. Re-surveyed at 1:2500.

The probable steading, noted by Authority 4, adjoining the course of Dere Street, consists of a fragmentary earthen bank, with no indications of stone-work, and must be considered very doubtful.

Name 'HABITANCVM' accepted for 4th. edition R.B.Map. (5)

Risingham, or Habitancum, (Roman Station) - Well-known Roman fort. Very little remains above ground but there are considerable foundations etc. NCH Vol. XV. Scheduled as a Ancient Monument. (6)

The interior of the fort has not been ploughed. An air photograph
by St Joseph shows a dense cluster of features inside the fort,
as shadow marks. Some are the result of old unfilled excavations, but the rest may reflect a less regular building plan of the fourth century or even a later settlement within the walls. (7)

Habitancum, identified with the Roman Fort at Risingham. The archaeological evidence at present available suggests that the fort was not built until Antonine times, in the governorship of Q Lollius Urbicus (AD 139-42) so that a landowner with a Roman name is quite possible. (8)

NY 890862. Corsenside. Habitancum, Roman fort, West Woodburn. Listed under Roman remains. Scheduled No. 21. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1925
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hist of Northum 15 1940 66 73 77 81-8 95 106-115 plans illust (IA Richmond)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : The Place-Names of Roman Britain 1979 371-2 (ALF Rivet & C Smith)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) AMs in Eng 1 1978 43
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Source : Risingham/profile 1
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Source : Risingham/field sheet
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Source : Risingham/profile 2
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Source Number : 2a
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 182-3,186-95
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Vol(s) : 13
Source Number : 2b
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 150-2
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Source Number : 2c
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 158
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Vol(s) : 4
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Roman inscr Brit 1965 1 396-415 (R G Collingwood & R P Wright)
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 EG 05-APR-56
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 DS 29-SEP-70
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : MOW (Prov List) Bellingham RD Northum Jan 1949 3
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Roman Britain from the Air 1983 119 photo & 121 (SS Frere and JK St Joseph)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 369
Monument Start Date : 138
Monument Type : Vicus, Bath House, Altar, Fort, Dedication Stone
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Built circa 138
Monument End Date : 196
Monument Start Date : 138
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed 197
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 197
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Rebuilt
Monument End Date : 208
Monument Start Date : 205
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 304
Monument Start Date : 209
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Reconstructed
Monument End Date : 306
Monument Start Date : 305
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 342
Monument Start Date : 307
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 343
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Rebuilt
Monument End Date : 366
Monument Start Date : 344
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed
Monument End Date : 369
Monument Start Date : 367
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 21
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 25038
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 88 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1005251
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : RISINGHAM (HABITANCUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1839-01-01
End Date : 1842-12-31
Associated Activities : RISINGHAM (HABITANCUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1843-01-01
End Date : 1843-12-31
Associated Activities : RISINGHAM (HABITANCUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1849-01-01
End Date : 1849-12-31
Associated Activities : RISINGHAM, (HABITANCUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1935-01-01
End Date : 1935-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 88 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1956-04-05
End Date : 1956-04-05
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 88 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-09-29
End Date : 1970-09-29