Roman military site at Rhyn Park
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003716
Date first listed: 13-Feb-1978
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: St. Martin's
National Grid Reference: SJ 30526 36916, SJ 30774 36766
Roman camp and vexillation fortress at Rhyn Park 605m east of Gledrid Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as practice camps although most campaign camps were only temporary overnight bases and few were used for longer periods. They were generally bounded by a single earthen rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances, although as many as eleven have been recorded. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most known examples lie in the midlands and north. Around 140 examples have been identified and, as one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by the Roman Army, particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas, they provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation. Roman vexillation fortresses are similar shaped enclosures which were occupied on a temporary basis by a campaigning army of between 2500 to 4000 men comprised of varying proportions of legionary and auxiliary troops. They were constructed as part of Roman military strategy immediately after the conquest in AD 43, when the army had not yet established the boundaries of its occupation, and continued to be involved in campaigns to increase and establish its control. All sites were probably abandoned by about AD 90. Vexillation fortresses are defined by a single rampart of earth or turf, usually revetted at the front and rear with turf or timber and surrounded by one or more outer ditches. Originally a breastwork and a wall-walk of timber would have crowned the rampart, possibly with corner and interval towers. Only 14 examples of vexillation fortresses have been recorded in England. As one of a small group or Roman military monuments which are important in representing army strategy, vexillation fortresses are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. Despite some river erosion to the north and subsequent cultivation partial excavation and geophysical surveys indicate the Roman camp and vexillation fortress at Rhyn Park 605m east of Gledrid Farm survive comparatively well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, relative chronologies and interrelationship, social, political, strategic and military significance, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument, which falls into two areas, includes a Roman camp and a vexillation fortress situated on the summit of a plateau which forms the watershed between the valleys of the Morlas Brook and River Ceiriog. The Roman camp and vexillation fortress survive as predominantly buried structures, layers and deposits visible as crop and soil marks on aerial photographs with limited visible surface earthworks. The smaller enclosure or camp is roughly rectangular in plan with rounded corners and covers an area of approximately 5.9ha. It is defined by two widely spaced ditches up to 30m apart with a clear entrance in the centre of the western side protected by offset ditches. The larger vexillation fortress was also defined by a rampart with a series of ditches usually double and up to 2.5m wide and 1m deep and from 7m to 8m apart except to the south side where there is a third ditch. The fortress internally measures approximately 515m long by 360m wide and has four discernible entrances. Trial excavations in 1977 and a geophysical survey in 1978 confirmed the layout of the eastern gateway, indicated the rampart had a box profile and revealed a series of ovens near to the gateway. The western rampart also survived as a very slight earthwork. Pottery confirming an occupation date of the 1st century was discovered. It is believed that the earlier smaller camp was subsequently replaced by the larger fortress.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SA 349
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing