Roman vexillation fortress 310m and 530m south of Osmanthorpe Manor

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018122

Date first listed: 24-Jul-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of Roman vexillation fortress 310m and 530m south of Osmanthorpe Manor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Nottinghamshire

District: Newark and Sherwood (District Authority)

Parish: Edingley

National Grid Reference: SK6788056370, SK6793156621

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Roman vexillation fortresses are rectangular enclosures with rounded corners which were occupied on a temporary basis by a campaigning army of between 2500 to 4000 men comprised of varying proportions of legionary and auxiliary troops. They were constructed as part of Roman military strategy immediately after the conquest in AD 43, when the army had not yet established the boundaries of its occupation, and continued to be involved in campaigns to increase and establish its control. All sites were probably abandoned by about AD 90. Vexillation fortresses are defined by a single rampart of earth or turf, usually revetted at the front and rear with turf or timber and surrounded by one or more outer ditches. Originally a breastwork and a wallwalk of timber would have crowned the rampart, possibly with corner and interval towers. Only 14 examples of vexillation fortresses have been recorded in England. As one of a small group or Roman military monuments which are important in representing army strategy, vexillation fortresses are of particular significance to our understanding of the period and all examples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

Osmanthorpe vexillation fortress is a rare example of this type of monument in Nottinghamshire. The aerial photographic evidence and archaeological documentation of the site confirms the survival of extensive buried remains and their diversity. Taken as a whole Osmanthorpe vexillation fortress will considerably enhance our understanding of the Roman occupation of the area and the impact it had on the wider landscape.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of Osmanthorpe Roman vexillation fortress and is divided into two areas by the cutting of a railway. The site is situated on the summit of a hill and affords open views of the surrounding landscape except to the south west where visibility is limited by higher ground. The fortress encloses the top and part of the northern side of the hill on the south side of the valley of the River Greet. No upstanding earthworks survive but the buried remains of the monument show clearly as crop marks on aerial photographs. The fortress is delimitated by a double ditch, although the remains of a third ditch are evident on the south and west sides. The fort is almost rectangular in plan, although the north west corner is not a right angle. This is because the defensive ditches follow the contour of a steep natural slope giving the effect of cutting off the corner of the fortress. Internally the fortress measures approximately 275m north to south and 335m east to west, enclosing an area of 8.8ha. Outside the defences on the north, east and south sides are four lengths of ditch with overlapping ends which are comparable to features identified at other vexillation fortresses and which are interpreted as defensive outworks. The ditches terminate at the edge of the north and south gates of the fortress but do not appear to respect the east gate. Within the defended area two other parallel, linear crop marks are visible. These may represent another smaller fort on the same site but the relationship of these with the main defences is difficult to determine. The fortress would have been served by what is now known as Lower Kirklington Road which, aligned with the southern gate, runs from the south east corner of the fort. This is believed to be a Roman road which runs in a straight line towards the Roman site of Ad Pontem on the Fosse Way, crossing the River Trent by a bridge at Thorpe. All modern fences, gates and the road surface are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29928

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Maxwell, G, Wilson, D, 'Britannia. A journal of Romano-British and kindred studies' in Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-84, , Vol. XVIII, (1987), 9-10
Riley, D, 'Britannia. A journal of Romano-British and kindred studies' in Two New Roman Military Stations In Mid-Nottinghamshire, , Vol. XI, (1980), 330-332

End of official listing