Troutbeck Roman fort and annexe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010827

Date first listed: 16-May-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Troutbeck Roman fort and annexe
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 - 1010827 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:09:53.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Hutton

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Mungrisdale

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 38221 27271, NY 38260 27182

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.

Despite being crossed by a modern road which divides the monument into two, the Roman fort at Troutbeck survives reasonably well. It is one of a group of Roman sites in the immediate vicinity, the others being three camps, and played an important military role in the policing of the Lake District and its indigenous population and controlling access into the northern Lakes. Limited excavation at Troutbeck showed that the fort was an earth and timber construction founded in the late first/early second century and, despite having two phases of occupation, its short lifespan makes this a rare example of an earth and timber Roman fort which was not subsequently rebuilt in stone.


The monument includes Troutbeck Roman fort located at a strategic position on high ground at the head 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. The fort is crossed by the old Penrith - Keswick trunk road and is thus divided into two separate areas. A combination of aerial photographs and field survey undertaken by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England indicates the presence of an annexe on the south eastern side of the fort and traces of a road and external earthworks on the western side. The fort is rectangular in plan with rounded corners and measures approximately 120m by 110m internally. Its defences consist of a rampart and ditch originally on all sides but now partially destroyed by roadbuilding on the south side. The rampart measures up to 9m wide and 1.8m high and is best preserved on the eastern side. The ditch, although partially silted up, remains visible on the west and north east sides where it measures up to 6m wide by 0.25m deep. The fort would originally have had an entrance on each side but only the eastern and western gateways remain visible. On the south eastern side of the fort there is the east rampart and ditch of an associated rectangular annexe which measured approximately 85m by 65m. On the western side of the fort a road issues from the gateway and runs in a south west direction for a short distance before becoming buried by earth from modern road construction. Immediately north of this Roman road are faint traces of two low sub-rectangular earthworks of uncertain function separated by a narrow track or passageway. Internally the fort has been divided almost on its median line by a north-south rampart with a ditch on its western side. This represents modification of the original fort for a second phase of occupation by a smaller garrison. Limited archaeological excavation across the defences on the western side of the larger earlier fort found it to have been constructed of earth and timber. The fort is thought to date to the late first/early second century AD and during its initial period of occupation would have been garrisoned by a unit of auxiliary troops about 500 strong employed in policing the area, and in particular controlling access into the northern Lakes. The garrison appears to have been reduced in size after a short period of time and the present lack of evidence for a vicus or civilian settlement outside the fort suggests that the length of occupation was limited. The A66(T) has been re-routed and now runs through a cutting to the immediate south of the fort. This new road alignment is not depicted on the map extract. All field boundaries and gateposts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 23755

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 20
RCHME, Roman Temporary Camps, Forthcoming

End of official listing