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Historic England Research Records

Longshaws

Hob Uid: 23277
Location :
Northumberland
Meldon
Grid Ref : NZ1350088470
Summary : Roman fortlet with double rampart and ditches, surviving as an earthwork.
More information : 'A' NZ 1350 8846. Square earthwork with roundish corners
and part of surrounding ditch visible. Roman?

'B' NZ 1338 8845. Rectangular earthwork. (1)

Remains of two rectangular earthworks situated at 300 ft above
sea level, upon a gentle north slope. They are both overgrown
with young birch trees, bracken and brambles. 'A' Centred NZ 1348
8845. The north side of the earthwork lies along the top of steep
slopes which fall away to the River Font. The other three sides
consist of triple ramparts with two medial ditches, the inner
rampart being carried round the north side. The interior measures
approx 50.0m E-W., by 60.0m N-S. There are entrances midway in
the east and west sides.
'B' Centred NZ 1336 8843. Consists of a single rampart with outer
ditch. The internal area is approx 45.0m. E-W by 65.0m N-S. The
entrances could not be located. (2)

Surveyed at 1/2500. (3)

A small Roman fort at Longshaws must be one of the best preserved
of its type in the north of England. The defences comprise a
rampart some 40ft wide and 3 1/2 - 5 1/2 ft high. and two
widely-spaced ditches with a bank between them. Area within the
inner ditch is about 250ft square. (1.4 acres), while that
enclosed by the rampart if 150ft square (0.6 acres). There is a
gate in the centre of the west side with a clearly marked
causeway leading from it, but it is not clear whether a gap in
the east rampart marks a corresponding gate. The ditches are less
well preserved, and are overgrown. The fort stands at a point
where the river (Font) is eroding its south bank, but the course
cannot have changed much since Roman times as the outer ditch of
the fort bends away as if to run to the river scarp.

Barely 100 ft SW of the fort, in an area of tangled thickets is
a further slight earthwork consisting of a rampart 10-12ft wide,
and a ditch. The whole is some 200ft N-S by 185 ft at a rough
estimate. Angles are rounded in curves of small radius, and both
rampart and ditch are interrupted for a gate in the centre of the
north side. What little of the earthwork is visible together
with the evidence of APs scarcely leaves doubt that remains of a
Roman camp are in question. (4)

Both works are clearly of Roman origin, and the plan of the
larger one is consistent with that of a fortlet except for the
question of 'gates'. Gaps noted by St Joseph are in fact no more
than a lowering of the track, and the former appears originally
to have been uninterrupted.

Survey of 4 11 64 unchanged. (5)

Frere writes that this is now thought to be a native site and it
should be deleted from the map of Roman Britain. (6)

The validity of this site as a fortlet was undermined by the excavations at the similar sites of Apperley Dene (NZ 05 NE 5)
and at Hartburn, Jobey threw specific doubt on the identification
of Longshaws as a Roman military site. (7)

The sites are the remains of 2 Roman fortlets. (8)

At NZ 1350 8847, on the edge of a river cliff above the River Font,
is a Roman fortlet, one of two (see also NZ 18 NW ) surveyed at
1:1000 scale by RCHME Newcastle in 1984 as a part of the Longshaws
Survey.

The fortlet is strongly defended by two ramparts and two ditches,
with a substantial counterscarp bank surviving in places beyond the
outer ditch. The area enclosed by the inner rampart, 1.8m high and
10-12m wide, measures 47m N-S by 45m E-W; the inner ditch is 0.6m
deep. The outer defence comprises a rampart, up to 0.9m high, a
ditch, 1.2m deep, and an intermittent outer counterscarp bank up to
0.7m high; this outer line incorporates the river cliff to the NE of
the fortlet. There are opposing entrances medial to the E and W
sides. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : APs CPE/SCOT/UK 221 3186 & 7
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ASP 14-JAN-57
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Source Number :
Source : Longshaws/ink survey
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 RWE 09-NOV-64
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : J R S 59 1969 105-6 plan (J K St Joseph)
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F3 BHP 15-JUL-71
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Letter (SS Frere 22 2 85)
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Letter (SS Frere 4.4.85) Arch Ael 5th Ser 1 1973 51-2 (G Jobey)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Letter (H W Welfare 22 7 85)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Iain Sainsbury and Humphrey Welfare/APR-84/RCHME: Longshaws Survey
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Source : Longshaws
Source details :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fortlet
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 18 NW 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 18 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1957-01-14
End Date : 1957-01-14
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 18 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-11-09
End Date : 1964-11-09
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NZ 18 NW 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1971-07-15
End Date : 1971-07-15