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HER Number:MDV6863
Name:Roman Road to East of North Tawton Fort

Summary

The course of the Roman road to the east of the fort survives in the line of hedgebanks and is followed by the parish boundary. Metalling exposed in the banks of the Den Brook showed the road and its ditches to have been at least 5.9 metres wide. Excavation in 2012 confirmed the road to have been over 7 metres wide. Beyond Preston the road may have continued straight on towards Crediton, crossing the river at Keymelford or turned to the southeast.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 701 996
Map Sheet:SX79NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNorth Tawton
Civil ParishSouth Tawton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH TAWTON
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH TAWTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69NE/22
  • Old SAM County Ref: 362 (part)
  • Old SAM Ref: 10384
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX69NE2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ROAD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, RAF/39/TUD/T/15 Part 1, 5032 (Aerial Photograph). SDV223420.


Ordnance Survey, SX69NE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV223417.


Fox, A., 1953, 20th Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 174 (Article in Serial). SDV223412.

Roman road to east of North Tawton Fort. First noted in survey of Ordnance Survey aerial photos and subsequently inspected. Visible as a low, flat topped bank 3.5 metres wide, or else, where the ground rises as a slight hollow way, for a distance of 3.5 miles east of North Tawton Viaduct. Just south of field banks, on North Tawton/South Tawton parish boundary.


Wright, R. P., 1953, Roman Britain in 1952, 124 (Article in Serial). SDV223413.

A trial hole dug near North Tawton station showed the bank to consist of sandstone rubble resting on the natural culm clay; two Samian sherds have been found where a small watercourse has cut through it. Near its eastern end, 1/4 mile south of Newlands Mill, and aligned along its south side, are the remains of an oblong earthwork with rounded corners, approximately 220 yards from east to west by I40 yards north to south, with an annexe apparently bounded by the east bank of the River Taw. The banks are said to have stood more than 8 feet high until they were bulldozed about I940, and are still traceable on the ground, particularly at the south-east corner; and there appear to be three entrances on the north side facing the road.


Ancient Monuments, 1954, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV346443.

A few traces of possible Roman road. A long straight hedge runs from the Roman fort to the Spreyton-Bow road near Brownsland Farm (SX717995). No trace of stone in its construction.


Ministry of Public Building and Works, 1958, Roman Camp 1/4 Mile W. of North Tawton Station (Schedule Document). SDV346445.

Straight road on east side [of earthwork] that extends three miles on line of parish boundary. Other details: Part of 362.


Fox, A., 1959, Twenty-Fifth Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon, 175 (Article in Serial). SDV343851.


Margary, I. D., 1967, Roman Roads in Britain, 120 (Monograph). SDV24025.

The four miles of parish boundary to the east of the fort near North Tawton is a striking feature, marked by a line of hedgerows on a large bank. Excavation near Coxmoor, however, failed to find evidence for the road on the bank and it has been suggested that it may have had a timber track or corduroy on it.
The road can be traced east to Hilldown Farm as indications of metalling have been observed at some points. Beyond this its course is unclear although a new alignment to the southeast is indicated by a long line of hedgerows beyond Preston.


Lambert, M. J., 1973, Roads to the Roman Camp at North Tawton (Article in Serial). SDV274717.

No evidence was found for the road on either side of the hedgebank at the entrance to Coxmoor Farm. As Lambert infers, however, the Roman road leading to the fort at North Tawton may have been a light military road such as described by Tacitus (Annals book 1), perhaps no more than a low embankment covered with logs or brushwood.


Lambert, M. J., 1973, Roads to the Roman Camp at North Tawton, 131-139 (Article in Serial). SDV274717.


Fox, A., 1973, South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition), 164, 182 (Monograph). SDV16216.


Griffiths, D. M., 1982, Untitled Source (Worksheet). SDV223415.

At SX69479961, where stream runs along southern edge of boundary/Roman road. A Longitudinal section created by the stream shown no sign of metallling. Other details: Photo.


Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits (Un-published). SDV345481.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden in 1983.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/ED, 5, 6, 6A (Aerial Photograph). SDV215279.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/FD, 8 (Aerial Photograph). SDV223424.


Salvatore, J. P. + Knight, M., 1991, Sections through the Roman Road from Exeter to North Tawton, 99-106 (Article in Serial). SDV223425.

Exposed metalling of Roman road visible in section in banks of Den Brook in 1992. Full width of road and ditches could not be seen; total width exposed circa 5.9 metres. Width of metalling alone was just over 4 metres, but was almost certainly wider when first in use, before part of the metalling was removed in antiquity. Fine metalling, taken to be indicative of road surface, recorded over a width of 2.4 metres and circa 20-40 millimetres deep where seen. Make-up layer circa 0.10 metres deep, occasionally 0.2 metres deep, consisting of 2 or sometimes 3 courses of pitched stones interspersed with a fine yellowish-brown clay. Below make-up is a grey soil, 0.08-0.12 metres deep. Three ditches observed on north side, one of which was almost certainly the primary ditch. It is just over 0.5 metres deep with a broad u-shaped bottom and may have been circa 1 metre wide. Its southern edge was cut away by the second in the sequence. This is 0.5 metres deep, width unknown, with relatively flat bottom rising slightly to south. The third ditch is a maximum of 0.46 metres deep, slightly shallower to south, and circa 1.55 metres wide. All 3 show signs of natural silting. A ditch was also observed on the south side. This was 0.26 metres deep, 0.45 metres wide. Its fill was a light brownish-grey clay, unlike the silts found in the ditches to north side. It was sealed by a clay soil. A localised layer of dark grey clay circa 60 millimetres deep sealed part of the road on is south side, but was not seen over any of the ditches. All features were sealed by up to 0.22 metres of homogenous yellowish-brown topsoil. A bank supporting a hedge sealed both the old ground surface and the earliest 2 ditches to the north.


Whiteaway, T., 2003, Archaeological Evaluation of Proposed Site of Lorry Park and Storm Water Storage Pond at the Barton, North Tawton, 2 (Report - Evaluation). SDV265762.


Passmore, A. J., 2003, Archaeological Recording During Gas Main Realignment South of Newland Mill, North Tawton, 1 (Report - Survey). SDV219497.


Department of Environment, 2003, Roman Forts, Marching Camps and Associated Monuments (Schedule Document). SDV343864.

Immediately north of the fort, aerial photography has revealed a Roman roadway running east west. Other details: Part of 10384.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.


Brennan, N. + Leivers, M., 2013, A Probable Roman Road at Den Brook, North Tawton, 87-90 (Article in Serial). SDV358100.

The remains of the Roman road comprising compacted fragments of small local stones laid on a clay base were revealed during an archaeological evaluation in 2012 on land to the south-east of North Tawton prior to the construction of a wind farm.


Chapman, E. M. + Hunter, F. + Wilson, P. + Booth, P., 2013, Sites Explored 2012 (Article in Serial). SDV361577.

Summary of work carried out by C. Budd and N. Brennan of Wessex Archaeology at North Tawton, Den Brook (SS 6870 0025). The remains of the east–west Roman road running through the southern part of the site were identified in evaluation trenching and an area excavation. The road survived in relatively good condition with much of the stone metalling still in situ. Two wheel-ruts were apparent in its surface and a ditch was located on the southern edge. The northern edge was truncated and disturbed by the double hedgerow and ditch of the present parish boundary, but the road was over 7 metres wide. Another ditch lay just to the south of the road on the same alignment. A group of features in the western part of the site was undated.


Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

The straight line of the parish boundaries from the fort at North Tawton to Brownsland is marked as the course of a Roman Road.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV16216Monograph: Fox, A.. 1973. South West England 3,500BC - AD600 (Revised Edition). South West England. Hardback Volume. 164, 182.
SDV215279Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/ED. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 5, 6, 6A.
SDV219497Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J.. 2003. Archaeological Recording During Gas Main Realignment South of Newland Mill, North Tawton. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.25. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV223412Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1953. 20th Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 85. A5 Hardback. 174.
SDV223413Article in Serial: Wright, R. P.. 1953. Roman Britain in 1952. The Journal of Roman Studies. 43. Unknown. 124.
SDV223415Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1982. Worksheet.
SDV223417Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. SX69NE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV223420Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. RAF/39/TUD/T/15 Part 1. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 5032.
SDV223424Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/FD. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8.
SDV223425Article in Serial: Salvatore, J. P. + Knight, M.. 1991. Sections through the Roman Road from Exeter to North Tawton. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 49. Paperback Volume. 99-106.
SDV24025Monograph: Margary, I. D.. 1967. Roman Roads in Britain. Roman Roads in Britain. Hardback Volume. 120.
SDV265762Report - Evaluation: Whiteaway, T.. 2003. Archaeological Evaluation of Proposed Site of Lorry Park and Storm Water Storage Pond at the Barton, North Tawton. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.60. A4 stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV274717Article in Serial: Lambert, M. J.. 1973. Roads to the Roman Camp at North Tawton. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 105. A5 Paperback. 131-139.
SDV343851Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1959. Twenty-Fifth Report on the Archaeology and Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 91. A5 Hardback. 175.
SDV343864Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 2003. Roman Forts, Marching Camps and Associated Monuments. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV345481Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346443Personal Comment: Ancient Monuments. 1954. Unknown.
SDV346445Schedule Document: Ministry of Public Building and Works. 1958. Roman Camp 1/4 Mile W. of North Tawton Station. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV358100Article in Serial: Brennan, N. + Leivers, M.. 2013. A Probable Roman Road at Den Brook, North Tawton. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 71. Paperback Volume. 87-90.
SDV361577Article in Serial: Chapman, E. M. + Hunter, F. + Wilson, P. + Booth, P.. 2013. Sites Explored 2012. Britannia. 44. Unknown.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV125752Parent of: Roman Road at Coxmoor Ford, Bow (Monument)
MDV8423Parent of: Roman Road at Coxmoor, Bow (Monument)
MDV126132Parent of: Roman road to south-south-west of Den Brook Wind Farm, North Tawton (Monument)
MDV103778Related to: Roman Military Complex at North Tawton (Monument)
MDV8434Related to: Roman Road between Prestons and North Down, Colebrooke (Monument)
MDV125746Related to: Roman Road south of Colebrooke (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV30 - SHERD (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV6714 - Archaeological Evaluation on Land South-east of North Tawton

Date Last Edited:Jul 25 2019 9:49AM