Roman fort and a section of Roman road 350m north west of Holly House Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Roman fort and a section of Roman road 350m north west of Holly House 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.

Bassetlaw (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 65937 92765

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.

Despite the lack of upstanding remains, Scaftworth Roman fort remains clearly identifiable on aerial photographs. The archaeological documentation of the site and its environs confirm that below ground remains survive extremely well. The fill of the ditches has been shown to contain high levels of organic remains and as such will preserve important environmental evidence relating to the use of the site and the development of the surrounding landscape. Taken as a whole, Scaftworth Roman fort will considerably enhance our understanding of the Roman occupation of the area and the impact it had on the wider environment.


The monument includes the buried remains of Scaftworth Roman fort and an adjacent section of Roman road. The site is situated approximately 1.5km to the east of Bawtry in a field immediately east of the flood barrier bank of the River Idle. The monument was first recorded as an earthwork on an early map of Nottinghamshire dating to 1774. By 1813 the site was no longer visible as an earthwork, having been levelled as a result of the land being taken into cultivation. The site was rediscovered from the air in 1944 as a crop mark. The land is low lying and, until relatively recently when modern agricultural drainage was installed, was frequently subject to floods although the sub soil of the site itself is sand and by comparison is much drier. The crop marks show that the rectangular fort is surrounded by a bank and triple ditch system, the innermost ditch enclosing an area of just under 0.4ha. The innermost ditch has almost right angled corners while the outer pair are more gently rounded at the corners. Access to the site would have been gained through an entrance which is visible on the north east side. The site is not precisely rectangular, the main deviation being the alignment of the south west side. The north west side has been degraded by the excavation of the large drainage ditch which forms the western field boundary. Excavation of parts of the ditches has shown them to be between 3.04m and 4.57m wide and just under 1.52m deep. The ditches are `V' shaped in section and had been waterlogged. From the evidence of pottery and a coin the site can be dated to the second half of the fourth century AD. Fragments of pottery and tile are still widely scattered over the surface of the site. From the southern corner of the fort two parallel ditches run for a short distance to the south east and terminate at an area of lower and probably marshy ground. These appear to form a small annex but the precise relationship between the outer ditch of the fort and those of the annex is unclear. On the aerial photograph a large dark area is visible in the southern half of the fort interior. Two excavation trenches were cut into this deposit and found it to contain much occupation debris, confirming that the Roman levels had been little disturbed by ploughing. A post hole and a number of hearths were recorded. The fort lies very close to where the Roman road from York to Lincoln crossed the River Idle. A stretch of the road is clearly visible on the aerial photograph as a dark line running north west to south east just north of the fort. Recent excavations have shown there were two phases of road construction and has confirmed both the alignment and construction of these. To the west of the fort, in the river flood plain, the earlier road was built of turf and timber and provided a `floating road' over the wet ground. This road ran across the site of the fort and was considerably earlier in date than the fort. Sometime later the timber and turf road was replaced by a more carefully constructed gravel road which was 6m wide and flanked by rows of oak pegs. A single radiocarbon date obtained from an oak post suggests a date in the third century. It is a section of the later road which survives as a crop mark to the north of the fort and is included within the scheduling. The fort is associated with the Theodicean recovery of the northern province in the mid to late fourth century (Roman Britain in the fourth century was divided into four provinces for administrative purposes), its position policing the route from the Trent valley towards Doncaster and then on to the Vale of York. The site appears to be a purely military post with no evidence of an associated civil settlement. All modern fencing is 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
Peck, W, A Topographical history of Bawtry and Thorne, (1813)
Todd, M, The Coritani, (1973), 127-128
Van de Noort, R, Ellis, S (eds), Wetland Heritage of the Humberhead Levels: An Archaeological Survey, (1997)
Van de Noort, R, Ellis, S (eds), Wetland Heritage of the Humberhead Levels: An Archaeological Survey, (1997), 409-428
Bartlett, J E, Riley, D N, 'Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire' in The Roman Fort at Scaftworth near Bawtry, , Vol. LXII, (1958), 24-35
Van de Noort, , Lillie, M, 'Current Archaeology' in Scaftworth: A TImber And Turf Roman Road, (1997), 272-273
Van de Noort, , Lillie, M, 'Current Archaeology' in Scaftworth: A TImber And Turf Roman Road, (1997), 272-273
AM56 05096, Scaftworth Roman Fort,
DC34-5, EM D14 Special collection A, J.K St Joseph, (1944)


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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