Roman fort, 342m SSW of Beckfoot Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the accommodation of troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between the mid first and mid second centuries AD. Some were only used for short periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. Roman forts are rare nationally and are extremely rare south of the Severn Trent line. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important.
The Roman fort 342m SSW of Beckfoot Farm is preserved as a cropmark with excavation and analysis of aerial photographs indicating the site to have extensive and well-preserved remains of the fortifications and its numerous internal structures. The monument lies within the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site and is part of a network of Roman mileforts and turrets along the Cumbrian coast. Accordingly, the fort is part of a group of monuments of clear national importance and as a group they give clear insight into the Roman military occupation of Britain.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 23 March 2016. 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.
The monument includes the remains of a fort of Roman date, situated on the Cumbrian coast. The fort, also known as Bibra or Beckfoot Roman Fort, measures approximately 123m east-west by 84m north-south and has an internal area of about 1.1ha. The fort is preserved as a cropmark with analysis of aerial photography revealing clear details of building outlines and with partial excavation indicating extensive survival of building and defensive wall foundations. This work has shown the fort to be surrounded by the foundations of a thick defensive wall with interval towers, angle turrets at each corner and with at least four external ditches. The outer wall contains entrances with guard chambers on the north, south and east sides with an additional entrance on the west side. Within the interior are the footings of a number buildings understood to include a headquarters, commandant’s house, a hospital, six centurial barracks, workshops and a number of other buildings. A number of roads can also be identified on aerial photographs leading from the fort to the exterior where they continue outside of the scheduled area. Excavated artefacts indicate the fort to have been occupied between the second to fourth centuries AD.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of the monument but have not been included as they have not been assessed. The monument lies within the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.