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Greta Bridge Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 19926
Location :
County Durham
County Durham
Brignall
Grid Ref : NZ0845013180
Summary : The site of the Roman fort at Greta Bridge stands upon a river terrace overlooking the River Greta. The long axis of the fort is aligned upon this terrace enhancing the defensive qualities of the east rampart. This rampart still survives to a maximum height of 3 metres, with some mutilation, and because of its location immediately adjacent to the river terrace, it has no ditch. The south defences of the fort are the best preserved and comprise the remains of a double ditch system, an earthen rampart, and a central causeway and gateway. The outer ditch, which is the most prominent, is up to 3 metres deep with a low counterscarp bank no more than 0.6 metres high. A medial ditch survives in the east up to 1.8 metres deep, with further traces of the ditch on the west side of the causeway. The causeway is 6 metres wide, and the corresponding gateway 6.5 metres wide. The south rampart stands to a height of 2.4 metres. The west defences are mostly disturbed by an adjacent track which follows a parallel course to the rampart, only the much abraded remains of the outer scarp of the rampart survives standing no more than 1.8 metres high. The north defences are now lost beneath the Morritt Arms Hotel. The interior of the fort exhibits faint traces of ridge-and-furrow which has subsequently been levelled. Two prominent rectangular platforms have been constructed overlying the abraded ridge-and-furrow, one in the north-east corner of the fort, the other in the south-east corner, which appear to be the remains of tees from a disused golf course. No wall faces are visible among the defences of the fort. To the immediate south of the fort, and also on the river terrace, lies a field of ridge-and-furrow cultivation. Find evidence suggests it was occupied from the early 2nd to the late 4th century AD.
More information : NZ 0845 1318. Roman Fort (R) (1)

Greta Bridge Roman Fort, 3 1/2 acres in area, was defended by a single rampart and ditch except on the south side where double stone faced ramparts and a ditch are broken by a central gateway 25 ft wide. Two rectangular platforms inside the fort may be modern (2). A dedication slab to Septimus Severus and his two sons Antoninius Pius and Geta was found near the north gate in 1793, it is now in the Bowes Museum (3). This and other chance finds from the fort suggest occupation from early 2nd century to late 4th century. (2-3)

The fort is in poor condition, only the southwest side being well preserved. Elsewhere it was spread and mutilated (as on the east) or destroyed (as on the north and largely on the west). The rectangular platforms in the fort are part of a disused golf course. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4)

In 1929, foundations of roads and buildings of 2nd century or later occupation, were found opposite the Morritt Arms (NZ 0850 1329) (5), and in 1972 Raine (6) at NZ 9079 1322 (sic. See compiler's comments in source 15), exposed a road with side ditches, Samian, mortaria and Caistor sherds, and evidence of an "ancient inefficient smelting process". Rescue excavations in 1973 and 1974, east of the river Greta, both north and south of the Roman
road (RR82), revealed at least 12 strip houses, built of course dressed stone bonded with clay, dated to not later than the early 4th century. Full excavation of one building revealed traces of a burned-down 12 m by 14.6 m timber courtyard house, of at least 10 rooms, beneath late 3rd or early 4th century stone foundations. Sherds of
Hadrianic date indicated that it could have been the mansio of the
Trajanic and Hadrianic fort. (7-8)

At NZ 085 134, one building approx 24 m by 19 m appeared to have a paved frontage and central courtyard with some evidence of pillar bases. At least three flagged floor levels were revealed. (9)

Name `MAGLONA' accepted for 4th edition Romano-British Map.

Rivet transfers the name `MAGLONA' to Old Carlisle Roman fort, Cumbria (see NY 24 NE/1) and very tentatively ascribed the name MORBIUM to either Greta Bridge or Piercebridge (see NZ 21 NW 2). (10)

NZ 085 132. Brigwall. Greta Bridge, Roman Camp listed under Roman remains. Scheduled no. 114. (Formerly scheduled under Yorks NR no 161). (11)

Existing survey revised by RCHME during a survey of scheduled monuments in County Durham. The Roman fort at Greta Bridge stands upon a river terrace over-looking the River Greta. The long axis of the fort is aligned upon this terrace enhancing the defensive qualities of the east rampart. This rampart still survives to a maximum height of 3 m, with some mutilation, and because of its location immediately adjacent to the river terrace, it has no ditch. The south defences of the fort are the best preserved and comprise the remains of a double ditch system, an earthen rampart, and a central causeway and gateway. The outer ditch, which is the most prominent, is up to 3 m deep with a low counterscarp bank no more than 0.6 m high. A medial ditch survives in the east up to 1.8 m deep, with further traces of the ditch on the west side of the causeway. The causeway is 6 m wide, and the corresponding gateway 6.5 m wide. The south rampart stands to a height of 2.4 m. The west defences are mostly disturbed by an adjacent track which follows a parallel course to the rampart, only the much abraded remains of the outer scarp of the rampart survives standing no more than 1.8 m high. The north defences are now lost beneath the Morritt Arms Hotel. The interior of the fort exhibits faint traces of ridge-and-furrow which has subsequently been levelled (12a). Two prominent rectangular platforms have been constructed overlying the abraded ridge-and-furrow, one in the north-east corner of the fort, the other in the south-east corner, which appear to be the remains of tees from a disused golf course. No wall faces are visible among the defences of the fort (contra 2 and 3). To the immediate south of the fort, and also on the river terrace, lies a field of ridge-and-furrow cultivation. (12)

Greta Bridge Roman Fort is a scheduled monument. For further details on the designation see the statutory data. (13)

At the time of amending this record in 2012, access to information on the designation noted in source 13 above is available via the National Heritage List for England. (14)

This Grid Reference in source 6 (Raine) is an incorrect location and as this information came from an oral source, a correction to this cannot be verified. This was researched by an English Heritage staff member. (15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1953
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Source Number : 2
Source : Yorkshire, the North Riding
Source details :
Page(s) : 311
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Source Number : 10
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 420
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Source Number : 11
Source : List of ancient monuments in England: Volume 1, Northern England; Volume 2, Southern England; Volume 3, East Anglia and the Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 22
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Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Peter Topping/22-AUG-1991/RCHME: Durham SAMs Project
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Source Number : 12a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : NLAP NZ08 13/3
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Source Number : 13
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Feb-00
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Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : The National Heritage List for England, Greta Bridge Roman Fort, [Accessed 26-JAN-2012]
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Source Number : 15
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details :
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Source Number :
Source : Greta Bridge/ink survey
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : The Roman inscriptions of Britain, 1. Inscriptions on stone
Source details :
Page(s) : 250-1
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Source Number : 3a
Source : Gentleman's Magazine
Source details : Library Romano-British Remains Pt 2 1887
Page(s) : 366
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 DS 13-APR-73
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Source Number : 5
Source : The journal of Roman studies
Source details : J MacIntyre
Page(s) : 190
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 19, 1929
Source Number : 6
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letters (F P Raine, 30.8.72 and 6.9.72)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 413-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1974
Source Number : 8
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : DR Wilson
Page(s) : 235
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 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 : D Austin and R H Daggett
Page(s) : 4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9, 1975

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Early C2 to late C4
Monument End Date : 400
Monument Start Date : 101
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 : DU 114
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Durham)
External Cross Reference Number : 1927
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 161
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 32721
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1019074
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 01 SE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1031457
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1143630
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1143630
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : GRETA BRIDGE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1972-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 01 SE 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-04-13
End Date : 1973-04-13
Associated Activities : RCHME: DURHAM SAMS PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1991-06-01
End Date : 1991-12-01
Associated Activities : GRETA BRIDGE FORT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : BURN'S COTTAGE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : BURN'S COTTAGE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT BRIGNALL LANE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31
Associated Activities : GRETA BRIDGE ROMAN FORT
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2013-01-01
End Date : 2013-12-31