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Historic England Research Records

Moresby Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 8593
Location :
Cumbria
Copeland
Parton
Grid Ref : NX9820021000
Summary : The site of a Roman fort, probably Gabrosentum, is visible as an earthwork on air photographs. It is probable that a civil settlement adjoins the fort on the south side. Inscribed stones record LEG II dedicated to Hadrian and others record II Cohort of Thracians and II Cohort Lingones. 19th century excavations recorded subterranean walls standing 3ft-4ft high. The church of St Bridget's occupies the north-east corner of the fort, and grave digging recorded pieces of a hypocaust, suggesting that the commanding officer's house lay on the north side of the fort. The coins found on the site indicate occupation until the early fourth century.
More information : Roman fort possibly the site of Itunocelum or Gabrosentum - earthwork remains comprising a turf-covered rampart; it lies partly in permanent pasture, partly in a graveyard.

(NX 9820 2100) Roman Fort (R) (1)

The Roman fort of Tunnocelum (2), a name of doubtful attribution (3) near Moresby, measures 358ft N-S by 400ft E-W and is circa 3.5 acres in extent (b), the E-W measurement and acreage confirmed by Birley. Two altars and six inscribed stones were found in and around the fort, one of which had a Hadrianic inscription, suggesting 128-138 AD as the construction date of the fort, was found in Harrington Church (4). Foundations of a building were exposed in 1822 when coins of Constantine and Constantius were found (4a). A number of coins from Domitian to Constans were found when making the new road near Moresby Hall "some 20 years ago (circa 1840) (4c). Excavations revealed the site of the North (4) and foundations of the South gateways and possibly the foundations of the East wall (5). Excavations on the North side of the fort in 1951 by Swinbank revealed a single ditch, 11 ft wide at the top, and a fragment of a coarse pot of post-Roman date. In the N half of the fort a grave-digger has found a number of small stone pillars, possibly the supports of a hypocaust (6). (2-6)

Visible on APs. (7)

The fort consists of a grass-covered rampart having its largest axis from E-W. The southern side rises from a height of 1.0m at its E end to 4.0m at the well-defined SW corner. The N side is less defined; barely discernable at the E and rising to 3.0m high at the NW corner. The bank within the churchyard is visible as a slight rise 0.5m high. The W side has strong, well-defined corners and the bank is better preserved than the others, flat-topped and with outer and inner slopes, although only averages 0.5m igh in the centre. On the SW corner the earth is broken away revealing medium sized stones within the rampart. No trace of any ditch was seen and no apparent entrances. The interior of the fort is level and has no signs of any internal features.
Surveyed at 1:2500. (8)

NX 982210. Roman fort, scheduled. (9)

Identified as GABROSENTUM. (10)

This Roman fort was examined in the course of the RCHME: Cumberland Coast Project. It lies partly within a graveyard, where the rampart is severely reduced, and partly in permanent pasture. It is generally as described by the OS field investigator. (11)

The fort described above is visible as an earthwork on air photographs, centred at NX 9820 2100. In addition to this is an earthwork bank running to or from the south west corner and ridge and furrow (UID 1495025) within and surrounding the fort. The relationship of these features to the fort is uncertain. The monument was mapped as part of the North West Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey. The feature does not appear to be visible on the latest 1990 Ordnance Survey vertical photography.
(12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1959
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (E Birley, 10.5.55)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 ECW 22-SEP-1959
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) Ancient Monuments England 1 1978
Page(s) : 16
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : The place-names of Roman Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 364
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 11
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Keith Blood and Colin Lofthose/12-MAR-1993/RCHME:Cumberland Coast Project
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Source Number : 12
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NX 9821/6 (13552/27) 01-SEP-1976
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain 1956
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (Birley E)
Page(s) : 42-72
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 48, 1948
Source Number : 4a
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Jefferson S 1842 Allerdale Ward
Page(s) : 447-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4b
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (Bruce JC)
Page(s) : 138-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1861
Source Number : 4c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Bruce JC 1884 Handbook to the Roman Wall
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (Birley E)
Page(s) : 218-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 49, 1949
Source Number : 6
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (Swinbank B)
Page(s) : 176-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 51, 1951
Source Number : 7
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (OS 64-43 052-3 24.5.64)
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Earthwork, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Georgian
Display Date : Church built 1822
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1822
Monument Type : Church, Building
Evidence :
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date : Uncertain
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Bank (Earthwork)
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Fort
Object Type : INSCRIBED OBJECT
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 277
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cumbria)
External Cross Reference Number : 1009
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NX 92 SE 4
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1030624
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1030633
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 503328
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1495025
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1030624
Relationship type :
Associated Monuments : 1030633
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : MORESBY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1859-01-01
End Date : 1860-12-31
Associated Activities : MORESBY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1951-01-01
End Date : 1951-12-31
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON NX 92 SE 4
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1959-09-22
End Date : 1959-09-22
Associated Activities : MORESBY VICUS
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1980-01-01
End Date : 1980-12-31
Associated Activities : RCHME: CUMBERLAND COAST PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-19
End Date : 1994-02-02
Associated Activities : ENGLISH HERITAGE:NORTH WEST COAST NMP RAPID COASTAL ZONE ASSESSMENT SURVEY
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-11-26
End Date : 2009-05-22