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Historic England Research Records

Nanstallon Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 431370
Location :
Cornwall
Lanivet
Grid Ref : SX0342366987
Summary : Nanstallon Roman Fort is thought to have been occupied from AD 65 to AD 79. It now remains as earthworks. The Roman military character of the earthwork on Tregear Farm was established in excavations between 1965 and 1969. This had been recognised in the 19th century from the many Roman objects of first century date ploughed up over many generations and listed by Iago. In the mid 19th century, the site was described as having very wide double ramparts which were gradually destroyed for field dressing and the eastern side ploughed out. Excavations have provided evidence for a 2.2 acre fort with turf revetted ramparts, timber angle towers, metalled roads and double gates. It is thought to have been too small to accommodate a complete auxiliary unit. It probably housed a detachment responsible for the supervision of lead and silver extraction. The principia was of unusual plan, very wide in proportion to its depth. Long halls were present on either side of the courtyard and a recessed entrance and portico were present at the front of the building. The Barrack blocks were rectangular in plan with no projecting officers' quarters or verandahs. There were larger rooms present at the end of each block.The compound adjoining the praetorum was defined by a timber fence. The yard was lightly metalled with post holes suggesting the presence of lean to sheds. One possible function of the compound was that of an ablutions block. This fort is only one area of three examples to have a double portal gate. The other examples include Baginton (Neronian in date) and Brough on Humber (Early Flavian). The dating evidence from coins and pottery suggests that Nanstallon Roman Fort was constructed late in the reign of Nero, certainly after AD 64, and withdrawal occurred during the reign of Vespasian (69-79) or very soon afterwards. The finds from the site have been donated to Truro Museum. In addition, flints found in the excavation are thought to date to the Neolithic or later.
More information : (SX 03436700) Roman Camp (R) (1)

Earthwork (NR) (2)

The Roman military character of the earthwork on Tregear Farm was established in excavations between 1965 and 1969. This had been recognised in the 19th century from the many Roman objects of first century date ploughed up over many generations and listed by Iago. In the mid 19th century the site is described as having very wide double ramparts which were gradually destroyed for field dressing and the eastern side ploughed out.

Excavations showed a 2.2 acre fort with turf revetted ramparts, timber angle towers, metalled roads and double gates (see plan). Although smaller than the essentials for a garrison, probably including cavalry. The few building alterations, with none to the defences, indicate a short occupation, and the evidence is for a final orderly systematic dismantling of the fort.

The dating evidence from coins and pottery suggests its construction late in the reign of Nero, certainly after AD 64, and withdrawal during the reign of Vespasian (69-79) or very soon afterwards.

The finds have been donated to Truro Museum.

Flints found in the excavation are probably Neolithic or later. (For Bronze Age finds from within or near the fort, see SX 06 NW 21).(3-6)

Hedges which overlie the original turf rampart on three sides of the earthwork are the only surface indications of this excavated Roman fort.
Sited on 1:2500 (7)

The auxillary fort, Neronian in date is too small to accommodate a complete auxillary unit. It probably housed a detachment responsible for the supervision of lead and silver extraction. The principia is of unusual plan, very wide in proportion to its depth. Long halls are present on either side of the courtyard, a recessed entrance and portico are present at the front of the building. The Barrack blocks are rectangular in plan with no projecting officers' quarters or verandahs. Larger rooms are present at the end of each block.

The compound adjoining the praetorum was defined by a timber fence. The yard was lightly metalled with post holes suggesting the presence of lean to sheds. One possible function of the compound is that of an ablutions block. This fort is only one area of three examples to have a double portal gate. The examples are Baginton (Neronian in date) and Brough on Humber (Early Flavian). (8)

Published on distribution map of Iron Age and Romano-British sites in Cornwall. (8-9)

Earthwork remains of a Roman turf built fort, excavation indicated occupation from circa AD 65 to 79. Neolithic and later flint implements were also found.


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1889
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : The Roman fort at Nanstallon, Cornwall
Source details :
Page(s) : 56-111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3
Source Number : 4
Source : Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall
Source details : W Iago
Page(s) : 211-27
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10, 1890-1
Source Number : 5
Source : Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall
Source details : A Fox
Page(s) : 247
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 1969-72
Source Number : 6
Source : The Roman West Country : classical culture and Celtic society
Source details :
Page(s) : 32-3, 44-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 29-AUG-74
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Roman forts of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD in Britain and the German provinces
Source details :
Page(s) : 79
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details : Henrietta Quinnell
Page(s) : 111
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1986

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : NEOLITHIC IMPLEMENTS
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : AD 65 to 79
Monument End Date : 79
Monument Start Date : 65
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CO 1097
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 06 NW 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 431406
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1519470
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NANSTALLON FORT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1969-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 06 NW 2
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-08-29
End Date : 1974-08-29