Hardknott Roman fort, bath-house, parade ground and tribunal, 4 Roman roads, Roman quarries and 3 cairns


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009349.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2021 at 19:06:03.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Copeland (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 21992 01549

Reasons for Designation

Around 150 Roman forts are known to have existed in England. Construction of these forts began soon after the invasion of AD 43 and continued into the fourth century. The distribution of these forts reflects areas where a military presence was necessary, and the north of England, acting as a buffer zone between barbarian tribes of northern Britain and the heavily Romanised southern half of the country, contained a large number of these forts. These sites provide considerable insight into the complexities of the frequently changing Roman frontier military strategy and add important detail to the historical account of the Roman subjugation of Britain. Mediobogdum is located on the Ambleside - Ravenglass Roman road and must have been closely involved in the control and policing of the native population of this mountainous area and the wider northern frontier region. The relatively short life of the fort (c.AD117-195) means it is a rare example nationally of an unmodified 2nd century Roman fort. The monument has remained unencumbered by modern development and is widely recognised as possessing one of the best preserved forts and bath-houses in the country. The parade ground and tribunal are the finest examples in England. The remote location of this monument has aided its survival and the site therefore retains considerable information about its origin and form and possesses a wide range of contemporary features including roads and quarries.


The monument includes Hardknott Roman fort, identified as the site of Mediobogdum named in classical sources, its associated bath-house, parade ground and tribunal or viewing platform, lengths of four Roman roads, areas of Roman quarrying and three cairns. The site is located on a south-westerly projecting spur of Hardknott Fell on gradually sloping fell side between 230m - 290m above sea level. The stone-built fort covers 1.2 hectares and is flanked by a rock-cut ditch 8m wide by 2m deep around the northern corner, with a second ditch of similar dimensions running parallel between the northern corner and north-east gateway. The fort walls stand up to 2m high including a slate coursing placed to indicate recently rebuilt upper portions. There are four gateways in the fort and a similar number of angle towers. Internally the fort displays the lower courses of the granary, headquarters building and commanding officer's house. Barracks exist in the praetentura or front part of the fort, but their foundations have been covered over. Some 60m south-east of the fort is the bath-house. It is a three-roomed rectangular building 18m long by 6m wide with walls up to 1m high. Externally there is a furnace and reservoir to the west and a circular hot room to the south. 200m north-east of the fort is an artificially levelled area of 1.2 hectares that was the parade ground. At the middle of its north-west side is a large ramp of stones up to 6m high leading up to a review platform or tribunal. Roman roads issue from the north-east, south-east and south-west gateways; the former connects with the parade ground, that from the main south-east gateway connects with the main Ambleside - Ravenglass road, as does the road issuing from the south-west gateway. There is considerable evidence in the form of extensive quarried faces, for the manner in which stone used to construct the fort was extracted from areas immediately to the south-west, west and north-east of the fort. North of the fort's ditches is a raised level platform constructed of loose stone and measuring some 54m by 14m in which are a number of shallow holes up to 2m diameter and 0.8m deep. This platform is interpreted as an area where angular stone extracted from adjacent quarries was roughly dressed before being used in the fort construction. Between the fort and the parade ground is a shallow boggy area from which a stone drain channels water into the fort. South-west of the fort are two kerbed stone cairns linked by a short line of boulders, while to the east of the bath house is a large stone cairn measuring some 37m by 17m and up to 1.7m high. Epigraphic evidence and limited excavations indicate the fort was garrisoned by the Fourth Cohort of Dalmatians, an infantry unit 500 strong. The fort was constructed during the reign of Hadrian (AD 117-38). It was subsequently evacuated or left with a greatly reduced manpower under the next emperor, Antoninus Pius (AD 138-61) but re-occupied at some time during the mid-2nd century. The fort was finally abandoned by the end of the 2nd century. The site is in the Guardianship of the Secretary of State.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Garlick, T, Hardknott Castle Roman Fort, (1985)
Hutchinson, , History of Cumberland, (1794)
Parthay, , Pinder, , Itinerarium Antonini Augusti, (1848)
Richmond, I A, The Roman Road From Ambleside To Ravenglass, (1950)
'Trans, Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. Old Ser. New Ser.' in Original 1889-1894 Excavations, , Vol. 12, 13,1, ()
Charlesworth, D, 'JRS' in Hardknott Barracks, , Vol. LV, (1965)
Charlesworth, D, 'Ant Journal' in Roman Leather From Hardknott, , Vol. XLVIII, (1968)
Charlesworth, D, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Granaries at Hardknott Castle, , Vol. 63, (1963)
Wright, R P, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in A Hadrianic Building Inscription from Hardknott, , Vol. 65, (1965)
Pagination 5-6, Carlton, R.J., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Quarries (Romano-Brit), (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6": 1 mile Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].