Two Roman forts, two Roman camps, vicus, Iron Age enclosure, Bronze Age barrows and Neolithic henge monument west of Newton Kyme


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


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

North Yorkshire
Selby (District Authority)
Newton Kyme cum Toulston
National Grid Reference:
SE 45568 45143

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.

Roman camps were enclosures constructed and used by the Roman military usually either as practice camps or when out on campaign, and most were only temporary bases. At Newton Kyme the camps were probably used initially to defend the crossing point of the river and also to house the troops whilst the forts were being constructed. A vicus was a settlement which developed in association with a Roman military centre. They included domestic dwellings and commercial premises as well as bath houses and temples and were used by both Roman soldiers and civilians as well as the native population. Although they supported their own agricultural systems and economic and industrial activities they were heavily dependent on the Roman military presence. The Roman remains at Newton Kyme will preserve important information about the form and functions of a major Roman military centre and its development through the Roman period. Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval- shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a number of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occoured within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified neolithic structures and in view of their comparitive rarity all known examples are considered to be of national importance. Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds which covered single or multiple burials. Enclosed Iron Age farmsteads are small defended settlements enclosed by an earthen rampart. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may aslo have been kept in these houses or in enclosed yards nearby. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups. Although diturbed by agricultural activity, the prehistoric remains at Newton Kyme will retain significant information about their form and function. The barrows will preserve evidence of the form and development of burial rituals and the farmstead will retain evidence of domestic and agricultural practices. Taken together the prehistoric features at Newton Kyme offer important scope for understanding the different use of the land for social ritual and domestic purposes throughout the prehistoric period.


The monument includes two Roman forts and an associated vicus, two Roman camps, an Iron Age enclosure, Bronze Age barrows and a Neolithic henge monument. Also included are a cemetery, remains of a regular field system and trackways whose date is yet to be determined. The monument lies on a raised river terrace south of the River Wharfe, bounded to the south by the A659 and to the west by the course of the Rudgate, which is believed to follow the line of a Roman road. The monument has been identified through aerial photography and some areas have been partly excavated. Although few upstanding earthworks or archaeological features are visible at ground level, extensive buried remains are clearly visible on aerial photographs. The Roman forts lie in the northern part of the site close to the crossing of the river. The larger fort is rectangular in shape, measuring 220m east to west by 300m north to south and extends over an area of about 5ha. This partly overlies the southern part of a smaller and earlier rectangular fort, which measures 240m in length from east to west. There are the remains of a network of roadways, buildings and other features surviving within the forts. To the south of the larger fort the buried remains of a wide road extend south for at least 550m. This road formed the focus for the vicus and is flanked on each side by the remains of a series of buildings, rectangular enclosures, ditches and trackways extending over an area of 15ha. One of the Roman camps lies 250m to the west of the forts. Only the north east corner of the camp and 150m of the north side and 250m of the east sides are visible on the aerial photographs. The other camp lies in the centre of the monument and as it is overlain by the forts it can be dated as earlier than both the forts and the vicus. Only 200m of the south side and 380m of the east side of this camp are visible on the aerial photographs. Both these camps have the characteristic shape of a first century AD marching camp, and may represent the first Roman occupation of the site. Further remains of the Roman period have been identified; these include a polygonal structure east of the vicus which has been interpreted as a Roman temple or mausoleum and, in the area known as the Adaman Graves in the south west corner, two human burials were found associated with jewelry and pottery of the third and fourth century AD. In the western edge of the monument lies the Rudgate, a trackway thought to follow the line of a Roman road which extended from the south, crossed the Wharfe at St Helen's Ford and joined the main road from York. Excavations in 1908 and 1956 have shown a sequence of Roman occupation for the site. The first fort was constructed of earth and timber enclosed by a turf and clay rampart flanked by two ditches. This fort and its associated vicus were abandoned by AD 290 and a new fort constructed with stone walls up to 3m thick, within a ditch 15m wide which remained in use throughout the fourth century. The forts were part of a network of Roman military installations throughout the north of England to support the Roman presence. At Newton Kyme the forts were located to defend the river crossing of an important routeway. The Iron Age enclosure lies in the north west of the monument. It was partly excavated in 1979 when a double ditched enclosure about 25m in diameter was revealed. Within the enclosure human remains and fragments of pottery were found. The enclosure has been interpreted as forming part of a large and substantially built defended farmstead occupied before the Roman occupation. The monument includes the remains of at least four Bronze Age round barrows, each of which were originally formed of a mound surrounded by a quarry ditch. One of these barrows, within the southern part of the later fort has been partly excavated and revealed a mound 7m in diameter which contained two human burials associated with a food vessel. The henge monument lies in the eastern part of the monument and consists of three concentric ditches with a bank lying between the central and innermost ditch. The outermost ditch has a diameter of 220m and the innermost a diameter of 100m. There are two opposing entrances to the north and the south of the henge. There are traces of small circular features lying within the central area of the henge. The bank is much reduced but is visible as a slight rise at a field boundary. Throughout the monument are a range of archaeological remains of uncertain function and date. To the west of the forts is a cemetery confined within a ditched enclosure and containing numerous graves orientated east to west. It is not yet clear whether these are late Roman or medieval in date. Elsewhere across the monument are pits, ditches and linear features which are interpreted as field systems of the prehistoric or Roman periods. St Helen's Cottage, all fences walls and gates and the surface of tracks are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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.

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Books and journals
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 4
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 13
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 4
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 15-17
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995)
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 9-11
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995)
Boulwood, Y, Newton Kyme, N Yorks: Roman Fort, Henge Monument and Environs, (1995), 13-14
Harding, A, Lee, G E, 'Henge Monuments and Related Sites in Great Britain' in Henge Monuments and Related Sites in Great Britain, , Vol. BAR 175, (1987), 310
Monaghan, J S, 'The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in A Roman Marching Camp And Native Settlement At Newton Kyme, , Vol. VOL 63, (1991), 51-58
Keith, K and Roberts, I,
Manby T G, The Lowlands and eastern Foothills, 1993,
NY SMR BDE 88,935,91,
NY SMR DMR 980/16, 18-21,
NY SMR DNR 980/16, 18-21,
NY SMR DNR 980/16,18-21,
Robert, I and Keith, K, (1983)
Robert, I and Keith, K, (1993)
Roberts, I and Kieth, K,


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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