Roman camp at Upton Heath, beside the water tower north of Long Lane


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Roman camp at Upton Heath, beside the water tower north of Long Lane
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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 41750 69510

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.

The Roman camp beside the water tower at Upton is one of a group of practice camps connected with the military occupation of the fortress at Chester. Examples of these are rare and they will provide evidence of the construction and function of Roman earthwork camps in the British Isles. The camp survives reasonably well despite the spreading of the rampart by ploughing in more recent years. The interior will also contain evidence for the occupation, including pits for latrines and traces of any temporary building on the site.


The monument includes a Roman camp identified by aerial photography in 1986 and 1989, situated on the former heathland at Upton-by-Chester. It is one of five similar sites all of the same shape and roughly the same size within the square kilometre between Acres Lane and Long Lane, with an outlier at Plas Newton School 200m to the south of the junction of Long Lane and the lane leading to Upton Grange Farm. Since there are so many of these camps grouped together, it is suggested that they were constructed as practice camps by troops from the garrison at Chester. The camp is enclosed by a ditch and is rectangular, with the corners rounded in the shape of a playing card. The longer sides are 150m east to west and the shorter sides 100m, enclosing an area of 1.5ha. The north west corner of this enclosure has been built over and consequently destroyed by the building of a water tower and the water pipes that attend it. There is a possible entrance midway along the east side of the enclosure. An excavation through a section of the ditch in 1987 showed that it is 1.5m wide and 1.45m deep with a V-cut bottom. Inside the ditch there was a rampart, now barely visible, which has been spread by ploughing but was originally 6m wide at the base. The ditch filled up with silt immediately after it had been dug, suggesting no permanent occupation of the interior. A possible outer bank or counterscarp was recorded by the RCHME in 1989.

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
Higham, N, A Cropmark at Upton Grange, (1987)
Ainsworth, S, 'Journal of the Chester Arch. Soc.' in Two Rectangular Enclosures at Stamford Heath, (1988), 81-85
Cheshire SMR, Collens, J and Philpott, R, (1989)
Cheshire SMR, Higham, N, (1986)
Cheshire SMR, Wilson North, R, Enclosure on Upton Heath, (1990)


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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