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Historic England Research Records

Derventio Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 313283
Location :
City Of Derby
City Of Derby
City Of Derby
Grid Ref : SK3536037500
Summary : The site of Derventio Roman fort at Little Chester. Limited excavation and observation in the twentieth century has indicated that the earliest features on the site belonged to an extensive Flavian to early Antonine occupation, which included timber buildings of probable military and possible civilian type. The foundations of a stone gate revealed in 1968 suggested an early defensive circuit but no trace of this was established. The line of the defences surveyed were found to overlie the Flavian to early Antonine occupation on a different alignment. The eastern stone defences appeared to be of slightly different date from those on the west and south, and may indicate some rebuilding. The eastern defences consisted of an Antonine clay rampart cut back to insert the stone wall in the late 3rd century, with some re-organisation of the defensive ditches. The western and southern stone defences appeared to date from or were refurbished in the mid 2nd century, but no mention of a clay rampart was made. Probable late 3rd-4th century civilian occupation was indicated, especially at the south-west angle of the fort. In the 4th century a broad ditch was dug out from the wall on the eastern side of the fort.
More information : (SK 35363753) Derventio Roman Fort (R) (Site of)

The Roman fort at Little Chester, Derby identified as 'DERVENTIO' - the Derbentione' of the Ravenna Cosmography (11) was surveyed and published by Stukeley in 1724 who observed a stone wall and surrounding ditch (9) - see plan 1), although no trace now survives above ground. Limited excavation and observation in 1926, 1960,1964-66, 1968, 1972 and 1982 (see excavation plan 3 and comments) indicated that the earliest features on the site belonged to an extensive Flavian - early Antonine occupation which included timber buildings of probable military and ? civilian type. The foundations of a stone gate revealed in 1968 suggested an early defensive circuit but no trace of this was established. The line of the defences surveyed by Stukeley were found to overlie the Flavian - early Antonine occupation on a different alignment. The eastern stone defences appeared to be of slightly different date from those on the west and south and may indicate some rebuilding although only extensive excavation would verify this. The eastern defences evidently consisted of an Antonine clay rampart cut back to insert the stone wall (see Stukeley's plan) in the late 3rd century, with some re-organisation of the defensive ditches. The western and southern stone defences appeared to date from, or were refurbished in the mid 2nd century but no mention of a clay rampart was made. Probable late 3rd-4th century civilian occupation was indicated, especially at the south west angle of the fort. In the 4th century a broad ditch, 6.6m wide was dug 20m out from the wall on the eastern side of the fort. Plans 1-6 (see also SK 33 NE 8). (2-11)

There are no visible remains in the area indicated. (12)

An excavation was carried out during the winter of 1979-80, prior to the erection of new changing rooms on the site near the former Derwent House stables. The work was carried out by the Trent Valley Research Group directed by Miss Hazel Wheeler. In October 1980 a service trench was cut mechanically to a depth of thirteen feet, revealing two square-sectioned Roman stone-lined wells. The trench was diverted to avoid cutting them, leaving their fillings intact. A quantity of Roman, medieval and post-medieval pottery was collected, all unstratified. (13)

This report describes the results of watching briefs and excavations conducted by Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust at the Roman site of Derventio, Little Chester, Derby, in the period 1986-1990. This includes sites at Pickford's Garage (SK35403750), the construction of a car park at Darley Playing Fields (SK35383765), a bowling green north-west of Derwent House (SK35243758), and a road at the Nursery Garden north of Old Chester Road (SK354375). A model is put forward for the development of Little Chester from military origins to an urban settlement, with a possible role as a regional market and administrative centre at the junction of Highland and Lowland communities. Between the fifth and the tenth centuries the focus of settlement shifted south to the modern city centre. Refurbishments to the defences in the late Saxon period may be associated with the Danish incursions of the 9th century and Little Chester could be the site of the battle of 917. In 1066 Cestre (Little Chester) remained in the King's demesne, which might signify its potential as a fortified site and formed the endowment of the seven canons of All Saints. The seven prebendal farms were sold into private hands in 1549; two are represented by the 16th-17th century houses which occupy the western half of the area. (14)

In advance of building new changing rooms at Darley Playing Fields, excavations were carried out by Trent Valley Archaeological Research Committee in the north-west sector of the Roman fort. This was the first large-scale examination of the interior of the fort, and produced six possible phases of Roman occupation. It is suggested that Roman occupation of the site began in the 80s AD and continued until the 4th century. There were no features of Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian date, and very little medieval pottery. (15)

Visible are very slight traces of the vicus, slight foundations of a building and a well (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10,000 1973
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : J Derby NH&AS 81 1961 85-110 Plans (G Webster)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ib 12 1981 335
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Source Number : 8d
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf Miss H M Wheeler (Trent Valley Arch Soc)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Iter Cur 1724 SO plan (W Stukeley)
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : BAR 21 1975 - Roman Fort Defences 161 (M J Jones)
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Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Place Names of Roman Britain 1979 334 (A L F Rivet & C Smith)
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FRH 29-NOV-66
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Source Number : 13
Source : Derbyshire archaeological journal
Source details : Brassington, M, 1997, 'Little Chester, Derby: Changing Room Service Trench, October 1980'
Page(s) : 26-Jul
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Vol(s) : 117
Source Number : 14
Source : Derbyshire archaeological journal
Source details : Langley, R and Drage, C. 2000. 'Roman Occupation at Little Chester, Derby: Salvage Excavation and Recording by T&PAT 1986-1990'
Page(s) : 123-287
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Vol(s) : 120
Source Number : 15
Source : Derbyshire archaeological journal
Source details : Wheeler, H. 1985. 'North-west Sector Excavations 1979-1980'
Page(s) : 38-153
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Vol(s) : 105
Source Number : 16
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Email correspondence 13-APR-2015 Mr C Jones
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ib 87 1967 40-69 Plans (M Brassington) 70-85 Plans (M Todd)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ib 89 1969 107-114 (M Brassington)
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : JRS 59 1969 211-213 Plan
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Source Number : 5a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf J Potts M Brassington M Todd
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Britannia 1 1970 283
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Source Number : 6b
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf Miss R D Annable (DOE)
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ib 4 1973 285
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Source Number : 7c
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf C J S Green (DOE Derby Arch Soc)
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : C1-C4
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
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 : DERBY 147
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 33 NE 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 929839
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1047337
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1047292
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 313274
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1924-01-01
End Date : 1926-12-31
Associated Activities : PICKFORD'S GARAGE SITE, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1960-01-01
End Date : 1960-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1965-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1966-01-01
End Date : 1966-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 32 SE 23
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-11-29
End Date : 1966-11-29
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1967-12-31
Associated Activities : NURSERY GARDEN, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : WEST GATE, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1968-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : PICKFORD'S GARAGE, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1968-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : FLOOD BANK TRENCH, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1968-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : 91 BELPER ROAD, STRUTT'S PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : COLD FRAME SITE, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : CAR PARK, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : DERWENT PARK, STRUTT'S PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1974-01-01
End Date : 1974-12-31
Associated Activities : ARTHUR STREET, STRUTT'S PARK
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1974-01-01
End Date : 1974-12-31
Associated Activities : 93 BELPER ROAD, STRUTT'S PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1977-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER: CHANGING ROOM SERVICE TRENCH
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1980-12-31
Associated Activities : PICKFORD'S GARAGE SITE, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : OLD CHESTER ROAD, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER, SOUTH EAST QUARTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31
Associated Activities : LITTLE CHESTER CABLE TRENCH
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1995-01-01
End Date : 1995-12-31
Associated Activities : ALFRETON ROAD, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND ADJACENT TO COACH AND HORSES PH, LITTLE CHESTER
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2007-01-01
End Date : 2007-12-31