Roman camp on Birch Hill 200m north west of Birchdale Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Oct-2019 at 19:06:27.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SJ 52486 73879
Reasons for Designation
Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were
constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as
practice camps; most campaign camps were only temporary overnight bases and
few were used for longer periods. They were bounded by a single earthen
rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded
corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances, although as many
as eleven have been recorded. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in
the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive
outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most
known examples lie in the midlands and north. Around 140 examples have been
identified and, as one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by
the Roman Army, particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas, they
provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation.
All well-preserved examples are identified as being of national importance.
Although the site does not retain any upstanding remains, it is clearly visible on aerial photographs which show an almost complete ditch circuit on three sides. The site therefore retains significant remains below the topsoil, including debris from the earliest construction and use of the site in the fills of the ditch, and signs of the rampart and possibly preservation of an earlier soil level beneath it. The interior will have indications of the occupation pattern and pits for latrines as well as post holes where timber buildings may have been erected. The ground on the west corner is waterlogged providing a chance of good preservation of the remains in the fill of the ditch at this point. Overall, therefore, the monument will provide important information about the Roman military occupation of this region.
The monument includes a Roman camp visible as a crop mark on aerial
photographs in two fields on the south side of the road from Birchhill
Cottages to Kingswood Lodge 200m north west of Birchdale Farm. No standing
remains survive but the differential growth of crops over the fills of buried
ditches is clearly visible on aerial photographs.
The camp's enclosing ditch is visible as a crop mark and appears to be about
2m wide, traceable over the two longer sides of a rectangle and showing the
characteristic curved profile at the east corner and the west corner. The
ditches measure 150m along the longer sides running east-west and 120m along
the shorter southern side. The northern side and corner have been interrupted
by the road and the north corner has been destroyed by it.
The south corner may have been damaged by the removal of a pylon and
subsequent replacement of the topsoil at this point in the recent past. There
are no visible traces of entrances in the ditch.
The surface of the road and stone hedge foundations and a pylon situated 10m
to the east of the monument on the south east side 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Cheshire County Council SMR, (1994)
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