Roman camp south of Field Head Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010824

Date first listed: 10-Jan-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Roman camp south of Field Head Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Mungrisdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 37927 27357, NY 37942 27195


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Roman fortlets are small rectangular enclosures with rounded corners defined by a fortified rampart of turf and earth with one or more outer ditches. The ramparts were originally revetted at the front and rear by timber uprights in shallow trenches and were almost certainly crowned with timber wall walks and parapets. Fortlets were constructed from the first century AD to at least the later fourth century AD to provide accommodation for a small detachment of troops generally deployed on a temporary basis of between one to two years and supplied by a fort in the same area. The function of fortlets varies from place to place; some were positioned to guard river crossings or roads, particularly at vulnerable points such as crossroads, whilst others acted as supply bases for signal towers. Roman fortlets are rare nationally with approximately 50 examples known in Britain, half of which are located in Scotland. As such, and as one of a small group of Roman military monuments which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, fortlets are of particular significance to our understanding of the period and all surviving examples are considered nationally important.

Despite being crossed by a modern road which divides the monument into two separate areas, the Roman camp south of Field Head Farm survives reasonably well, its defensive earthworks in particular remaining well preserved. It is one of a group of Roman sites in the immediate vicinity, the others being a fort and two further camps, each of which display marked differences in plan, numbers of gateways, size and subsequent troop disposition. The monument will contribute to any study of Roman military campaigning in northern England.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a Roman camp located on high ground at the head of the wide valley of the River Glenderamackin and the Trout Beck, from where it commands extensive views westwards towards Keswick, northwards through the Caldew valley and southwards over Matterdale and Threlkeld commons. It is crossed by the old Penrith to Keswick road and is thus divided into two separate areas. The camp is rectangular with rounded corners and measures approximately 220m by 190m internally. It has defences consisting of a rampart and ditch with entrances on the south east and north west sides. Limited excavation across the defences during the 1950s and 1970s found the rampart to measure up to 3.8m wide and 0.6m high. It was formed of clay cast up from the ditch with stacked turves forming the inner and outer faces. The ditch measures 1.45m wide by 1m deep and was constructed with the outer face of the slope at a steeper angle than the inner face. A berm up to 0.3m wide separates the rampart from the ditch. The two entrances are each defended by an internal clavicula: that is a curving continuation of the rampart and ditch which partially obstructs access through the entrance. A survey of the monument undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England during the 1970s found traces of previously unrecognised features including a third entrance defended by an internal clavicula on the camp's north east side; an external ditch close to the camp's northern corner; low mounds or banks running parallel with the rampart along part of the south eastern side; a linear earthwork resembling a ditch or track crossing the camp in an east- west direction; and a series of mounds, a ditch and a semicircular and linear earthwork of uncertain function within the camp.

The camp is thought to date to the late first century AD during the period when the Roman army was consolidating its position in northern England and in particular turning its attention to the policing of the Lake District and its indigenous population.

All field boundaries and the surface of a farm track are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

The A66(T) has been re-routed and now runs through a cutting to the immediate south of this camp. This new road alignment is not depicted on the map extract.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 23752

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Roman Temporary Camps Near Troutbeck, Cumberland, , Vol. LVI, (1957), 28-36
Collingwood, R G, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Hill Fort on Carrock Fell, , Vol. XXXVIII, (1938), 32-41
Shotter, D C A, 'Roman North-West England' in Roman North-West England, (1984), 21
St Joseph, J K, 'Journal of Roman Studies' in Aerial Reconniassance in Britain, 1951-55, , Vol. 45, (1955), 83-4
Wilson, D R, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain In 1973, , Vol. 5, (1974), 412-3
RCHME, Roman Temporary Camps, Forthcoming

End of official listing