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Historic England Research Records

Old Burrow Roman Fortlet

Hob Uid: 35112
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7879049340
Summary : The site of Old Burrow Roman fortlet. The very well preserved earthworks of a Roman fortlet comprising a square enclosure some 44 metres across within a sub-circular enclosure 85 metres across. The site was partly excavated by St George Gray in 1911 and again by Fox and Ravenhill in the 1960s. The excavations suggested that the site was briefly occupied in the 1st century AD, when a number of tents occupied the interior of the square enclosure.
More information : (SS 78804934) Old Barrow (NAT)
Roman signal station (R) (1)

The Roman character of this earthwork was established in 1911 by H St G Gray (2). It consists of two concentric enclosures 60 to 70 ft apart; the inner, which is rectilinear, measures 87 by 93 ft and is bivallate : the outer which is more circular is 295 ft in diameter, and univallate (see plan). A denarius of Tiberius (AD 14-37) and an as of Claudius (AD 41-54) found in the cook-house area, plus other finds, indicate construction and occupation probably 48-54 AD(3).
Lady Fox says 'The excavations have shown that the two fortlets (Old Barrow and Martinhoe, 11 miles to the west) were successive and not contemporary constructions. It is, therefore, less likely that either was part of a chain of signal-posts (4).

Old Barrow(a), the Roman fortlet and signal station is very well preserved apart from minor excavation disturbance mainly on the east side. Under moorland vegetation.

Resurveyed at 1:2500. (5-6)

Old Barrow and Martinhoe fortlets are not intervisible. Photograph and description of the site. (7)

This site was surveyed by staff of RCHME in December 1993 for further information see archive report. (8)

Further survey work was carried out by RCHME staff in August 1997; the earthworks were surveyed at 1:500 scale. (9)

SS 78794934. Old Burrow Roman fortlet. Constructed in the mid first century AD, it survives as a series of earthworks and buried remains which comprise an inner fortlet defended by 2 ditches and a rampart, surrounded by a further rampart and a single ditch. Traces of a field oven and cookhouse were discovered within the fortlet, along with post- and stakeholes, interpreted as evidence for tents. Scheduling amended. (10)

A ditch defined track or road, possibly associated with the fortlet, is visible as faint cropmark on aerial photographs of 1974. The trackway is visible as parallel cropmarks approximately 2 to 3 metres apart, up to 2 metres wide. It is visible for a total of roughly 500 metres; 170 metres to the north-east of the fortlet, 340 metres to the south-west. The trackway to the south-west of the fortlet is visible its western end as a soilmark at which becomes somewhat unclear. he north-eastern end of this section appears to be aligned on the entrance in the fortlets outer enclosure. The cropmarks may be the remains of a narrow ditch defined trackway, or be forming over ruts worn by the passage of wheeled vehicles. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Annotated Record Map
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details : plan and sections
Page(s) : 703-717
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Vol(s) : 44 (1912)
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Source : Old Burrow Roman fortlet/ink survey
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Source : Old Burow Roman fortlet/excavation overlay
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Source : Old Burrow Roman fortlet/pencil survey
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Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R Wilson-North 11 Sept 97 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source : Old Burrow and Martinhoe
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Source : Old Burrow/ink survey
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Source : Old Burrow/pencil survey
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Source Number : 3
Source : Antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 253-258
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Vol(s) : 39 (1965)
Source Number : 4
Source : Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings
Source details :
Page(s) : Mar-39
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Vol(s) : 24 (1966)
Source Number : 5
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : The Owner Glenthorne Estate Countisbury
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 30-SEP-74
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Source Number : 7
Source : Roman Britain from the air
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Page(s) : 137-139
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wilson-North WR 14-DEC-93 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 10
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH Scheduling amendment, 03-SEP-2002
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Source Number : 11
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/74179 009-010 18-JUL-1974
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Constructed mid C1st
Monument End Date : 66
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fortlet, Oven, Cookhouse, Post Hole, Trackway
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit, Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 501
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 39
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 33033
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 671
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1357343
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, OLD BURROW CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1911-01-01
End Date : 1911-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, OLD BURROW ROMAN FORTLET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1963-01-01
End Date : 1963-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 74 NE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-09-30
End Date : 1974-09-30
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01