Site of Roman Fort, Ilkley.


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


Ordnance survey map of Site of Roman Fort, Ilkley.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bradford (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 11626 47877

Reasons for Designation

Ilkley Roman fort is one of approximately 150 known examples in England. Construction of these forts began soon after the invasion of AD 43 and continued into the fourth century. The distribution of forts reflects areas where a military presence was necessary and the north of England, acting as a buffer zone between barbarian tribes of northern Britian and the Romanized southern half of the country, contained a large number of these forts. Because Ilkley was occupied for some 300 years the fort is known to contain features relating to both its early turf and timber phase and its reconstruction in stone. The whole of the remaining unexcavated area of the fort contains the remains of contemporary Roman buildings and the size and location of these structures can offer important evidence in assessing the size of the garrison occupying Ilkley, the role this unit played in the policing of the surrounding countryside, and the relationship beween the army and the indigenous population. The part of the site immediately to the west of the fort is known to contain at least three defensive ditches each contemporary with a different building phase. These are waterlogged and likely to preserve organic remains such as wood, bone, pollen and leather. Remains of an Anglo-Saxon presence at the site are also expected to lie in the vicinity of All Saints Church and churchyard.


Ilkley Roman fort occupied a strategically important position in the mid-Pennines at the junction of Roman roads from Ribchester-York and Manchester-Aldborough. Another road appears to have linked Ilkley with Bainbridge. The fort controlled a crossing point of the River Wharfe and lies on a plateau 100m south of and about 12m above the present river. It was flanked by watercourses to east and west and rising ground to the south. The fort displays five building phases and was occupied from c.AD80 until about the end of the fourth century with a forty year period of abandonment during the second century. Much of the fort now lies below modern building. Church Street and New Brook Street overlie part of the southern and eastern areas; All Saints Church and churchyard occupy much of the central southern half; while Manor House Museum and Castle Yard overlie large parts of the western side. Nineteenth century cutting of Castle Road immediately north of the fort resulted in partial destruction of the northern defences. The now landscaped northern half of the fort has afforded most opportunity for archaeological excavation. Here it was possible to identify timber and stone structures typical of a Roman auxiliary fort including stables, workshop, store, granaries, commanding officer's house, drains, an oven, and the internal street arrangement. Excavation through the defences discovered a turf rampart superseded by a stone wall. The north gateway, a possible interval tower, and a post hole suggesting a timber tower at the northwest angle of the fort were also located. Part of the west wall of the fort has been left exposed for public view and the west wall of Manor House Museum has been constructed directly on the sixth course of in situ Roman masonry. Immediately outside the west wall excavation revealed three defensive ditches each compatible with different periods of fort construction. All buildings on the site are excluded from this scheduling. However, the remains beneath the buildings and churchyard are included. Three Anglian stone cross shafts originally set in All Saints Churchyard but now relocated inside All Saints Church beneath the tower are not included in the scheduling. They are however Listed Grade I.

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.

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Books and journals
Hartley, B R, Roman Ilkley, (1987)
'Medieval Archaeology' in Ilkley All Saints church (SE113481), , Vol. 27, (1983), 27
Hartley, B R, 'Proceedings of Leeds philosophical & Lit. Soc; Lit. & Hist secti' in The Roman fort at Ilkley; excavations of 1962, , Vol. XII PtII, (1966), 23-72
Woodward, A M, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Roman fort at Ilkley, , Vol. XXVIII, (1926), 137-231
Church leaflet, The Ilkley Crosses,
Church leaflet, Welcome to Ilkley Parish Church,
Original AM7 Scheduling documentation for Ilkley crosses,


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

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