Section of Roman road to the north-east of Moor Lane, Kirk Langley


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Centred on SK 29116 37940.
Statutory Address:
Nr Adams Road, Langley Common, Kirk Langley, Derbyshire, DE6 4LW


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Statutory Address:
Nr Adams Road, Langley Common, Kirk Langley, Derbyshire, DE6 4LW

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

Location Description:
Centred on SK 29116 37940.
Amber Valley (District Authority)
Kirk Langley
National Grid Reference:


A buried section of the Roman road which linked the Roman settlement at Little Chester, Derby with those at Rocester and Chesterton in Staffordshire.

Reasons for Designation

The section of Roman road identified to the north of Moor Lane, Kirk Langley, part of the network of roads created by the Roman army after AD 43, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the location and extent of this section of Roman road was revealed by archaeological investigation, which confirmed the presence of nationally important deposits harbouring evidence of its construction, including a metalled road surface and parallel drainage ditches; * Historic interest: the network of roads established by the Romans constitutes a major feat of engineering and is seen as one of the most distinctive legacies of the Roman occupation of Britain. Their metalled roads were not emulated on any scale until after the Middle Ages, and their influence upon the development of the present day national road network remains clearly discernable;

* Rarity: whilst the route of the Roman road from Chesterton, Stoke-on Trent to Little Chester, Derby has been documented, only a very small proportion is known to survive physically. The section of road at Kirk Langley is the only section to have been identified between Rocester and Derby, and thus constitutes a very rare survival;

* Potential: the excavations at Kirk Langley have already demonstrated that the monument retains highly significant archaeological evidence, therefore unexcavated areas have further potential to retain important archaeological deposits which will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the form and construction of this important aspect of Roman infrastructure in England;

* Documentation: the excavation reports for the Kirk Langley site constitute a significant archive of archaeological documentation.


Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from around AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150 miles (241km) per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe, changing horses at wayside `mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles or 12.87km on major roads) and stopping overnight at `mansiones' (rest houses located every 20-25 miles or 32-40km). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads.

On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs, kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the original construction of the road.

With the exception of the extreme south-west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement.

The section of Roman road to the north-east of Moor Lane in Kirk Langley formed part of the road linking the Roman settlement at Little Chester, Derby with those at Rocester and Chesterton. It is marked today by considerable stretches of modern roads, with traces of agger (the raised embankment formed by material from side ditches) visible in intermediate sections. Trenches excavated in 1964 revealed the archaeological evidence of the road at Wolstanton Grammar School, Hempstalls Farm, Wolstanton Golf Course and the State Cafe.

The section of the road at Kirk Langley has been identified by excavations carried out as part of the archaeological evaluation of land off Moor Lane, required by Amber Valley District Council following an outline planning application for residential development on the site. The evaluation trenching confirmed the presence of metalled surfacing which crosses the proposed development site, representing a continuation of the Roman road from the west, the line of which is now represented by Long Lane. Beyond the boundary of the development site to the east, the line of the road is marked by Pimms Lane, and then a footpath, extending directly eastwards. A second phase of evaluation trenching has revealed the presence of a truncated gulley aligned with Roman road, and understood to be coeval with it.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS This monument includes the buried remains of a Roman road, the road structure and flanking ditches of which are known to survive. The Roman road linked the fort and settlement at Little Chester, Derby with those at Rocester and Chesterton in Staffordshire. The line of the road is traceable for a considerable distance to both the east and west of the site through the line of modern roads.

DETAILS The monument includes a section of the Roman road which linked the forts and settlements of Little Chester, near Derby, and Rocester and Chesterton in Staffordshire to the west. It is aligned east - west and located in two pasture fields bounded by Moor Lane to the south-west and Adams Lane to the west. The road runs eastwards from the garden boundary to 'The Lawns' at SK 2909237952 to the field boundary immediately to the west of the junction of Adams Road and Pimms Lane at SK 2920937945. The monument survives as buried archaeological remains, comprising well-preserved road surfacing material (metalling) with associated parallel roadside ditches to both sides (now infilled) extending approximately 128m in length. The presence of the archaeological remains was revealed by evaluation trenching completed in October 2018, with five trenches excavated, three of which contained evidence of the road metalling. The hand excavation of the metalled surface indicated that the road had been laid within a shallow broad cut, with small, rounded water-worn pebbles about 20-50mm in size embedded in a silty clay. Sporadic patches of larger water-worn stones found in the westernmost trench and overlain by smaller stones may represent the base layer of the metalled surface. The width of the compacted metalling varies between 5 and 5.25m in the three trenches. A second phase of evaluation trenching carried out in March 2019 revealed further archaeological remains immediately to the south of the road metalling referred to above, which has been interpreted as a truncated gully aligned with the Roman road.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The area of protection includes the length and width of the Roman road and the associated side ditches as identified by excavation and depicted on the attached map.

EXCLUSIONS All fence posts, gates and gate posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included.


ARS Ltd. An Archaeological Evaluation of Land at Moor Lane, Kirk Langley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, 2018


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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