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Historic England Research Records

Corbridge Roman Town

Hob Uid: 18511
Location :
Northumberland
Northumberland
Corbridge
Grid Ref : NY9822264842
Summary : The site of Corbridge Roman Town with the Roman place-name Coria, is the site and remains of a 1st/2nd century AD Roman fort, which became a 3rd-4th century Roman small town. It has suggested that the Roman name for the fort and town at Corbridge may have been CORIORITUM. It is situated 4 kilometres to the south of Hadrian's Wall on the intersection of Roman Dere Street and the Stanegate near the crossing of the River Tyne. The site has been excavated on a number of occasions and many features including the extensive vicus are visible and have been mapped from air photographs. Excavations revealed that the site overlays a late prehistoric enclosed settlement. The dating of the fort at the site has identified several phases. The first fort has been shown to be much larger than its successors before it was dismantled and burnt. The secondary fort, built from around AD 105, involved construction of several buildings in stone. However the turf and timber defences were retained throughout the life of the fort before it was abandoned in around AD 163. Corbridge then became a busy garrison town.
More information : [Centred NY 9822 6484.] Corstopitum Roman Fort [GSC] (1)

A Roman fort, probably Agricolan, which became a 3rd-4th C. small Roman town. [See attached M.P.B.W. Guide.] Excavations, 1952-3, revealed a pre-Roman circular enclosure in the form of a small, round-bottomed ditch 60 ft in diameter: it had an entrance on the west, and an eccentrically placed hut, diameter c. 21 ft. to the north. In plan the site resembles the Bleasdale [M.B.A.] Circle (Ant. J. 18, 1954, 154 ft.), but the site had been levelled by the Roman garrison and there were no finds. (2-5)

Re-surveyed at 1/2500. (6)

Plan with additions from the air by J K St Joseph and P Salway. (7)

NY 984 649. The Pre-Roman palisaded enclosure with hut circle beneath Corbridge Roman fort was tentatively considered by Challis and Harding to be Late Bronze Age or at least the earliest Iron Age. (8-9)

CORSTOPITUM (?) Roman Fort and town at Corbridge. The name is hypothetical or in restored form and not recorded as such in any source. (10)

Detailed discussion of the chronology of the Roman forts at Corbridge and re-examination of the evidence from the `Western Enclosure'. (11-12)

Hind has suggested that the Roman name for the fort and town at Corbridge may have been CORIORITUM. (13)

Excavation in 1980 to the west of the granaries located the west rampart of the fort and a probable interval tower. The associated pottery is compatible with a construction-date of c. 90 AD. The rampart was rebuilt several times before being partially levelled (after c. 160 AD). Fragmentary timber structures may be associated with this phase. These features were succeeded by two successive stone buildings. The floor of the first of these yielded late second or early third century pottery. (14)

The excavations (1947-80) have been published by English Heritage. This report includes the aerial photographic transcription done by the APU. This monument was plotted by the RCHME's APU in 1987 as a 1:2500 scale survey of the site (Event UID 972854, Collection UID 974513) The excavations (1947-80) and the AP transcription have been published by English Heritage (15a). (15)

The site was explored between 1906 and 1914 but there have been many subsequent excavations. These revealed the remains of the Principia (Headquarters Building), Praetorium (the Commanding Officer's House), barracks, granaries and defences. The dating of the fort at the site has identified several phases: Phase I (circa AD 86-103), Phase II (circa AD 105-122), Phase III (circa AD 122-139) and Phase IV (circa AD 139-163). The first fort (Phase I) has been shown to be much larger than its successors before it was dismantled and burnt. The secondary fort, built from around AD 105, involved construction of several buildings in stone. However the turf and timber defences were retained throughout the life of the fort before it was abandoned in around AD 163. (15a)

Air photographs taken in 2006 show very clearly the roads and elements of the vicus as cropmarks in the fields to the west of the fort and to a lesser extent to the north and east. New detail, including building foundations, is visible in addition to that transcribed in the 1987 transcription of the site from the air photographic evidence (see authority 15). The buildings of the vicus are visible to the east and west of the fort with evidence of buildings flanking the internal roads Stanegate, running east to west, and Dere Street , running north to south. All of the building features show as areas of light cropmarks. There are numerous pits, but it is uncertain whether they are contemporary with, or post date the Roman features. The pits may possibly relate to stone extraction for building the Roman town and fort, or may possibly be rubbish pits. (16)

An enormous collection of excavation finds have included numerous sculptures, inscriptions, samian pottery and other wares, military equipment, Roman tools, glass vessels, animal bones (wild and domesticated) and a bronze jug containing 160 gold coins ranging in date from AD 64 to 160. (17)

On the pivotal intersection of Roman Dere Street and Stanegate near the Tyne crossing, Corbridge played a vital role in every Roman campaign in northern Britain. The first forts here were founded circa AD 79-85 during the campaigns into Scotland under Agricola; the third in association with Hadrian's Wall; the last used during the campaigns of Antoninus Pius in the mid-2nd century. Corbridge then became a busy garrison town. The extensively excavated remains include a fountain house with an aqueduct, a pair of granaries, and walled military compounds containing barracks, temples, houses and a headquarters building with a belowground strongroom. The original Stanegate Roman road, predated Hadrian's Wall and passed through the centre of the site. (18)

A joint project between Tyne and Wear Museums and English Heritage (with funding from the North East Regional Museums Hub) has undertaken a survey and study of the architectural fragments and religious sculpture found in excavations before WWI, and now stored at Matfen. Many were reused to resurface the Stanegate Roman Road in the fourth century. This study has allowed different buildings to be identified, eg temples, a legionary sanctuary, and fountain. (19)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (20)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 25" 1964
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : `Corbridge Roman station', Official Guide, 1954 (Ministry of Public Buildings and Works)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 11
Source : The Roman forts at Corbridge
Source details :
Page(s) : 47-74
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Vol(s) : 5
Source Number : 12
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (M Bressington)
Page(s) : 62-75
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Vol(s) : 6, 1975
Source Number : 13
Source : The Romano-British name for Corbridge
Source details :
Page(s) : 165-71
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11
Source Number : 14
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (F O Grew)
Page(s) : 322
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Vol(s) : 12, 1981
Source Number : 15
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : G. Soffe/RCHME:Corbridge Project
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Source Number : 15a
Source : Corbridge : excavations of the Roman fort and town, 1947-80
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) : no.8
Source Number : 16
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY 9864/171 (20559/01) 13-JUL-2006
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Source Number : 17
Source : Corbridge Roman station (Corstopitum), Northumberland [guide]
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-31
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Source Number : 18
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 242
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Source Number : 19
Source : Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009
Source details :
Page(s) : 97-107
Figs. : 21-26
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (I A Richmond and J P Gillam)
Page(s) : 152-201
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Vol(s) : 28, 1950
Source Number : 20
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
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Source : Corbridge/AP report
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Source : Corbridge Fort and Town/ink AP transcription
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (Richmond, Gillam and Grace Simpson)
Page(s) : 239-266
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Vol(s) : 30, 1952
Source Number : 5
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (Richmond, Gillam and Grace Simpson)
Page(s) : 205-253
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Vol(s) : 31, 1953
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RL 05-FEB-1966
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Source Number : 7
Source : The frontier people of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 46
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Source Number : 8
Source : Later prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne
Source details :
Page(s) : 135, 143-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20 (i)
Source Number : 9
Source : Later prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne
Source details :
Page(s) : 51
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20 (ii)
Source Number : 10
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 322-3
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Palisaded Settlement, Hut Circle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Palisaded Enclosure, Hut Circle
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman town remains
Monument End Date : 399
Monument Start Date : 163
Monument Type : Town, Temple, House, Aqueduct, Fountain, Granary, Vicus, Pit
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Cropmark
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman forts AD 86 -163
Monument End Date : 163
Monument Start Date : 86
Monument Type : Fort, Barracks, House, Temple, Vicus, Building
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Cropmark
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date : Uncertain
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Pit
Evidence : Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 23
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 76
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : DP045077
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 96 SE 20
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE, (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1830-01-01
End Date : 1830-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1906-01-01
End Date : 1914-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE, (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1930-01-01
End Date : 1931-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE, (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1934-01-01
End Date : 1943-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE, (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1940-01-01
End Date : 1941-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE, (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1946-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 96 SE 20
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-02-05
End Date : 1966-02-05
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1976-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE (CORSTOPITUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1980-01-01
End Date : 1980-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: CORBRIDGE PROJECT
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1987-04-01
End Date : 1987-06-01
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE WATER MAINS REFURBISHMENT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT CORCHESTER LANE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2004-12-31
Associated Activities : EH AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE (NORTH): 2006-7
Activity type : AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE
Start Date : 2006-04-01
End Date : 2007-03-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE ROMAN STATION
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND NEAR CORSTOPITUM
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND NEAR CORSTOPITUM (PHASE 2)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE ROMAN STATION
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : TRINITY COURT, ROMAN WAY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31
Associated Activities : TRINITY COURT, ROMAN WAY
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE ROMAN TOWN
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31
Associated Activities : CORBRIDGE ROMAN STATION
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2018-01-01
End Date : 2018-12-31