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Historic England Research Records

Lancaster Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 41221
Location :
Lancashire
Lancaster
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : SD4733062020
Summary : The site of Lancaster Roman fort. The fort was probably Agricolan in origin, and was rebuilt in timber in the Trajanic period when it apparently housed a cavalry unit. Third century stone buildings have been identified, and it was reduced in size in circa 367 AD to form a Saxon Shore type fort.
More information : (SD 47336202) Roman Fort (R) (site of) (NAT) (1)

SD 474620. Roman auxiliary fort at Lancaster. Excavation on the Castle Hill/Vicarage Field area at intervals between 1927 and 1975 revealed a complex sequence of structures indicating rebuilding of the fort on at least six occasions; pottery and coins recovered show occupation to after AD 400.

Features of the earliest, probably Agricolan fort, including a turf rampart and intervallum road, were discovered. A fragmentary building inscription showed that the fort was rebuilt in Trajan's reign, and other inscriptions found showed that Lancaster supported a cavalry garrison. Timber buildings of the Antonine period, destroyed by fire, were found on the north slopes of the hill, overlying which were 3rd century stone structures identified as the Principia, part of the granaries, barrack blocks and a courtyard house with adjoining bath house. The Wery Wall, the only visible remains of the fort, represents contraction and the rebuilding of a Saxon Shore type fort, covering approximately 9 acres, after AD 367.

The visible earthworks in Vicarage Field were proved to be Medieval and were probably connected with the Priory (SD 46 SE 26) or the Castle (SD 46 SE 23). Authority 6 visited the site in 1953 when he reported that there was no trace of any Roman buildings in the Vicarage Field area. The only earthworks consisted of two parallel ramparts, centred at SD 47346205, running east to west for a distance of approximately 70.0 metres before forming an obtuse angle and running in a south west direction for a distance of approximately 70.0 metres. A hollow way ran from SD 47346206 in a north direction for approximately 50.0 metres.

A 10th century sceatta was found on Castle Hill in 1975. (2-6)

Further excavations in Vicarage Field and at 12 Castle Park revealed no structural features but Roman pottery of the 4th century was recovered. (7)

(SD 474618) Excavation in 1974 on the Mitres Yard Site revealed the incurving butt-ends of four ditches, two primary and two secondary, outside the east gate of the fort. (See SD 46 SE 48 map,site B) (8)

A milestone of Hadrian (119-138 A.D.), found 4 miles ENE of Lancaster, ends its text with L MP IIII, interpreted as 'from L - 4 miles'. It is suggested that the letter represents the beginning of the Roman name for the fort at Lancaster. (9)

SD 47356200. Lancaster Roman fort, constructed during the last quarter of the 1st century AD and abandoned in the early 5th century. Evidence suggests that the first fort dates from circa 80 AD. The fort was remodelled later in the 1st century and then briefly abandoned, before being reoccupied very early in the 2nd century. Further remodelling included the addition of a stone revetment wall to the existing defences. A sequence of temporary abandonment and reoccupation followed. In circa 330 a major new fort was constructed on a different alignment. The structural evidence suggests that this was a Saxon Shore fort construction and the coin and pottery evidence indicates that it remained in use until the early years of the 5th century. The only surviving upstanding fragment of this structure is a section of masonry known as the Wery Wall (See SD 46 SE 21), which represents the core of an external bastion. Scheduling amended. (10)

Medieval earthworks in Vincarage Field described by authorities (2-6) above are now recorded as UID 1485180.

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1957
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Romans in Lancashire
Source details : Romans in Lancashire 1973 pp60-3 (D C A Shotter)
Page(s) : 60-63
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Roman Lancaster : some excavation reports and some observations
Source details : Roman Lancaster 1972 pp1-88 illust (G M Leather)
Page(s) : Jan-88
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Contrebis : bulletin of archaeology and local history for Lancashire and the north west
Source details : Contrebis 1 No 2 1973 pp4-9 illust (G D B Jones & J P Wild)
Page(s) : 04-Sep
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Archaeol Excavs 1975 (HMSO) pp67, 101 (T W Potter and A J White)
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JHO 10-DEC-53
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : Britannia 9 1978 p429
Page(s) : 429
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 9
Source Number : 8
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : Britannia 6 1975 p239
Page(s) : 239
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6
Source Number : 9
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 382
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH Scheduling amendment, 24-APR-2002
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : C4th
Monument End Date : 399
Monument Start Date : 300
Monument Type :
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : c330
Monument End Date : 340
Monument Start Date : 320
Monument Type : Fort, Wall, Bastion
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Structure
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Abandoned early C5
Monument End Date : 432
Monument Start Date : 400
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : c 80
Monument End Date : 90
Monument Start Date : 70
Monument Type : Fort, Barracks, Ditch, Rampart
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : C1st after c80AD
Monument End Date : 99
Monument Start Date : 81
Monument Type : Fort, Barracks, Rampart
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : c102
Monument End Date : 112
Monument Start Date : 92
Monument Type : Fort, Wall, Ditch
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Rampart
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type :
Object Type : VESSEL, COIN
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : COIN
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LA 14
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34987
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SD 46 SE 24
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1485180
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 41212
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1927-01-01
End Date : 1929-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ALLOTMENT FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1950-01-01
End Date : 1950-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SD 46 SE 24
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1953-12-10
End Date : 1953-12-10
Associated Activities : Primary, ALLOTMENT FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1958-01-01
End Date : 1958-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ALLOTMENT FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1965-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NEW VICARAGE GARDEN
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1968-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1970-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1971-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, VICARAGE FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1973-01-01
End Date : 1973-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GENERAL ACCIDENT,CASTLE HILL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1975-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE HILL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1976-01-01
End Date : 1977-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, MITCHELL'S BREWERY, 37-39 CHURCH STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1999-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, REAR OF THE JUDGES' LODGINGS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT 27 CASTLE HILL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2003-01-01
End Date : 2003-12-31