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Historic England Research Records

Ravenglass Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 37046
Location :
Cumbria
Copeland
Muncaster
Grid Ref : SD0879095800
Summary : The site of Ravenglass Roman fort, identified as the site of Glannaventa noted in classical sources. It is located in Walls Plantation, 700 metres south of Ravenglass, adjacent to the coast, and bordered to the north and south by shallow ravines. The east rampart survives up to 1.5 metres high and measures 128 metres long. The fort was defended on the east side by a double ditch, the inner of which is faintly visible measuring 5 metres wide and up to 0.3 metres deep. The south side of the fort has a very clear and sharp rampart up to 1 metre high. On the fort's north side, beyond the rampart, there is a single ditch, the two eastern ditches having merged into one at the north-east corner. This ditch becomes deeper towards its western end and develops into a ravine 6 metres deep. The western edge of the fort has been subjected to coastal erosion that has destroyed the wall and intervallum along this side. A railway runs north-south through the fort in a cutting and the monument is therefore divided into two areas. Casual finds and limited excavations within the fort indicate an early Hadrianic fortlet constructed in circa AD 122. In size this fortlet is similar to milefortlets associated with the Cumbrian coastal defence system and is thought to indicate either an extension of this system down to Ravenglass, or a separate localised defensive arrangement constructed to guard the estuaries. A later Hadrianic fort was built on the same site but on a different alignment in circa AD 130 to consolidate the coastal defences. This fort displays evidence of destruction by fire in circa AD 197, AD 296 and AD 367, dates that mirror known periods of widespread turmoil in northern England. It was rebuilt after the latter destruction but no date of final abandonment is known. The fort was garrisoned by the Cohort I Morinorum, a unit 500 strong, at one time during its history.
More information : (SD 0880 9580) GLANNAVENTA ROMAN FORT (R)
(SD 0876 9587) ROMAN WELL (R) (1)

The archaeological history of Ravenglass Roman fort has been summarised by Collingwood in 1928 and Birley in 1958. (2) (3)

Major excavations were undertaken in 1976-8 at the western side of the fort above an eroding cliff. Part of the north defence and the foundations of barrack blocks were discovered suggesting four phases. Full report. (4)

Identified as GLANNAVENTA. (5)

Scheduled. (6)

The fort was surveyed by RCHME in 1998; a plan at 1:1000 scale and a full report were produced and these are deposited in NMRC Swindon.
It is in poor condition; a railway in a cutting 6.8m deep runs through the west side of it from north to south. The greater part lies to the east of the railway within dense woodland and scrub; it survives mainly as a platform defined by an outward-facing scarp up to 0.6m high which defines the east and parts of the north and south sides. Traces of a silted ditch can be seen along the east side and that part of the north defence that survives has utilised a natural gully. To the west of the railway there is no traces of the fort. All that can be seen is a flat-topped ridge, not more than 17m wide, above a cliff; the continuing erosion of this cliff has been responsible for the destruction of the western defence and an unknown amount of the north and south sides of the fort. The excavations in 1976-8 occurred on the summit of the ridge.
Associated with the fort is a bath-house, a vicus and a road from the east gate (not located) to Ambleside fort by Hardknott. (7)

Survey. (8-10)

Scheduled (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:2500 map of 1971.
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Collingwood, R.G, Trans Cumb and Westmor Antiq and Archaeol Soc 2, 28, 1928, 353-66.
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Source Number : 11
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 16-Nov-92
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Birley, E. Trans Cumb and Westmor Antiq and Archaeol Soc 2, 58, 1958, 14-30.
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Potter, T.W. Cumb and Westmor Antiq and Archaeol Soc Research Ser vol 1, 1979, 1-138.
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Rivet, A.L.F. and Smith, C. The place-namesof Roman Britain, 1979, 367.
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage SAM Amendment 06-MAY-1992.
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Keith Blood/RCHME: Ravenglass Roman Fort Survey/07-JUL-1998.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Ravenglass Roman Fort/ink survey
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ravenglass Roman Fort/pencil survey
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Source Number : 10
Source : Ravenglass Roman Fort
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Fortlet built circa AD 122
Monument End Date : 129
Monument Start Date : 122
Monument Type : Fortlet
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Fort built on same site
Monument End Date : 196
Monument Start Date : 130
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed in 197
Monument End Date : 197
Monument Start Date : 197
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Fort rebuilt
Monument End Date : 295
Monument Start Date : 198
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed in 296
Monument End Date : 296
Monument Start Date : 296
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Fort rebuilt
Monument End Date : 366
Monument Start Date : 297
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Destroyed 367
Monument End Date : 367
Monument Start Date : 367
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Rebuilt
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 368
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 : CU 268
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13569
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SD 09 NE 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1035286
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1130596
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1146700
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1157572
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : RAVENGLASS,WALLS CASTLE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1800-01-01
End Date : 1899-12-31
Associated Activities : RAVENGLASS,WALLS CASTLE (GLANNAVENTA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1850-01-01
End Date : 1850-12-31
Associated Activities : RAVENGLASS (WALLS CASTLE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1881-01-01
End Date : 1881-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RAVENGLASS (WALLS CASTLE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1885-01-01
End Date : 1886-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SD 09 NE 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1967-06-27
End Date : 1967-06-27
Associated Activities : RAVENGLASS (WALLS CASTLE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1978-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: RAVENGLASS ROMAN FORT SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1998-01-27
End Date : 1998-07-07
Associated Activities : RAVENGLASS FORT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31