Roman fortlet at Ince, 150m north east of Hall Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Roman fortlet at Ince, 150m north east of Hall Farm
© 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.

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 44874 77082

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.

The Roman fortlet at Ince is visible as a cropmark in aerial photographs and excavation has shown that it is well preserved beneath the topsoil. The interior will have much evidence of the form and function of the monument and the ditch bottoms will have evidence of the refuse discarded by the original inhabitants.


The monument includes a double ditched enclosure to the north of the village of Ince identified as a Roman fortlet. The enclosure was first discovered by aerial photographs in 1994 and subsequent excavation has confirmed its form and established a date in the Roman period. The enclosure has two rock-cut ditches surrounding the site. These enclose an area of 0.48ha. Excavation has established that there are postholes for wooden buildings on the site, and that these buildings were in occupation during the time of the occupation of the Roman fortress at Chester. The area enclosed is rectangular with well rounded corners. The interior measures 80m by 60m, the ditches being 9m apart. The site commands a wide view of the estuary of the Mersey, being on a promontory overlooking the former channel of the river which used to flow beneath the cliffs. The fortlet is comparative with that near Castleshaw in Greater Manchester. Its function seems to have been the observation of sea traffic in the estuary. Buildings shown on the 1:10000 map to overlie the monument no longer exist.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Philpott, R, 'Cheshire Past' in Cheshire Past, (1995), 4
Philpott, R, (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

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