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Roman Military Campaigns

In Scotland and Northern England

Inchtuthill and the Glen Forts

It is likely that work started on the Inchtuthill fortress no earlier than AD85, the year after Agricola left Britain. This legionary base was abandoned uncompleted perhaps in the winter of 85/86, certainly by the summer of 86 when the removal from Britain of Legio II Adiutrix for use in Domitian's Dacian wars forced the Twentieth Legion to be withdrawn from Scotland to maintain the garrison at Chester, recently vacated by the Second.

At the same time as the Inchtuthill legionary base was being built, a number of forts were also constructed at the mouth of each glen leading into the Caledonian highlands, to the south-east of Inchtuthill at: Barochan on the Clyde, Drumquhassle at the SE corner of Loch Lomond, Malling at Menteith, Bochastle at Callander, Dalginross at Comrie and Fendoch at the mouth of the Sma' Glen, also to the north-east at: Ardoch, Strageath, Bertha, Cargill, Cardean and Stracathro. There may also have been another fort situated in the anomalously large gap between the latter two forts.

Ardoch may have been garrisoned by an auxiliary unit and a legionary cohort, and excavations at Fendoch and Cardean have demonstrated that both forts were evacuated after only a short occupation period. A number of bronze asses of AD86 have been uncovered at a number of military sites in Scotland; Inchtuthill, Camelon, Strageath, Stracathro, Crawford, Newstead, Cramond, Castledykes and Barochan. The finding of these coins, all in almost unworn condition, proves that all of these sites were garrisoned in that year or shortly afterwards. It is almost certain, given the stong garrisons in the glen forts that the Romans intended these camps to act as a springboard into the Caledonian highlands along the lines of the Glens. These plans were halted by the advent of war in Dacia.

"The abandonment of Inchtuthill was almost certainly accompanied by the withdrawal of the garrisons of the glen forts." (Breeze, p.61)

Dispositions During the First Flavian period (AD85-c.90)

NameN.G.Ref.Description
PINNATA CASTRA (Inchtuthill, Tayside)NO1239 Legionary Fortress Legio XX Valeria.
CORSTOPITVM (Corbridge, Northumberland)NY9864Large Fort.
TRIMONTIVM (Newstead, Borders)NT5734Large Fort.
Castledykes, StrathclydeNS9244Large Fort.
Dalswinton, Dumfries & GallowayNX9384Large Fort.
CAMELON (Camelon, Central)NS8680Large Fort.
ALAVNA (Ardoch, Tayside)NN8309Large Fort [Glen Fort]
Cardean, TaysideNO2846Large Fort [Glen Fort]
Stracathro, TaysideNO6165Large Fort [Glen Fort]
Bertha, TaysideNO0926 Large Fort of uncertain occupation period [Glen Fort?]
Broomholm, Dumfries & GallowayNY3781Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
BREMENIVM (High Rochester, Northumberland)NY8398Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Oakwood, BordersNT4224Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Milton, Dumfries & GallowayNT0901Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Easter Happrew, BordersNT1940Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Loudoun Hill, StrathclydeNS6037Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Elginhaugh, LothianNT3267Medium Fort in Lowland Scotland.
Barochan, StrathclydeNS4169Medium Fort on the Forth of Clyde [Glen Fort]
Drumquhassle, CentralNS4887Medium Fort at SE end of Loch Lomond [Glen Fort]
Menteith, CentralNN5600Medium Fort at mouth of Glen Ard [Glen Fort]
Bochastle, CentralNN6107Medium Fort at mouths of Strath Gartney and Strathyre [Glen Fort]
Dalginross, TaysideNN7721Medium Fort at mouths of Glen Artney, Glen Earn and Glen Lednock [Glen Fort]
Fendoch, TaysideNN9128Medium Fort at mouth of the Sma' Glen [Glen Fort]
Strageath, TaysideNN8918Medium Fort at W end of Gask Ridge [Glen Fort]
Cargill, TaysideNO1637Medium Fort just S of confluence of Rivers Isla and Tay [Glen Fort]
Glenlochar, Dumfries & GallowayNX7364Medium Fort of uncertain occupation period.
Ward Law, Dumfries & GallowayNY0266Medium Fort? Fortlet (Lantonside) and Camp? of uncertain occupation period.
BLATOBVLGIVM (Birrens, Dumfries & Galloway)NY2175Small Fort in southern Scotland.
ALAVNA (Learchild, Northumberland)NU1011Small Fort; the northernmost Roman fort in England.
Cappuck, BordersNT6921Small Fort in south-east Scotland.
Mollins, StrathclydeNS7171Small Fort between the Forth and the Clyde.
Chew Green, NorthumberlandNT7808Fortlet/Station on the England/Scotland border.
Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries & GallowayNX5957Fortlet/Station in south-west Scotland.
Castle Greg, Lothian?Fortlet/Station.
Kaims Castle, TaysideNN8612Fortlet on the Gask Ridge.

The Gask Ridge

Gask Ridge
The Gask Ridge Looking East
from the station at Muir O'Fauld.

The war waged in AD83 by Domitian against the Chatti tribe east of the Rhine resulted in the withdrawal of many forces from Britain and a halt to the development of the fortress at Inchtuthill when the Twentieth Legion were forced to pull back to the recently abandoned fortress at Chester following the withdrawal of the Second Legion Adiutrix to the continent. The conclusion of this war was to see the division of Germania into two provinces, Superior and Inferior, along with a marked change of Roman military policy when a series of timber-built watch-towers were erected, spaced between 500-600m apart and fronted by a continuous timber palisade which stretched across the 120 miles (200km) of forested land between the natural barriers of the Rhine and the Danube. The concept that the Roman empire actually possessed limits began to emerge.

Parkneuk Watchtower - VRML Model
The Watch-Tower at Parkneuk
VRML Model from the RBO Scriptorium

This policy was continued in Britain around AD86 when a series of watch-towers were built along the Gask Ridge in Scotland. These small encampments were spaced between 760-1,520m apart, and were seemingly built to replace the Glen forts, most of which were being abandoned at this time, and their garrisons perhaps withdrawn to the Continent. A secondary line of defence to the south-east of the line of the glen forts had been occupied since Agricolan times, and upon the abandonment of these northernmost defences the forts at Ardoch and Strageath to the rear of this line underwent a period of secondary (or perhaps tertiary) occupation, and a (new?) fortlet was built at Kaims Castle. A number of watch-towers were built along the road between these fortifications, the only discernable difference between those built between Ardoch and Kaims Castle (including Westerton) and the others along the Gask Ridge to the east of Strageath is that the former possessed two enclosing ditches and the latter group possess only one.

The Gask Frontier in Tayside

NameN.G.Ref.Description
ALAVNA (Ardoch)NN8309Fort, Watch-Tower W of road
Shiehill-1NN8511Watch-Tower W of road
Shiehill-2NN8512Watch-Tower E of road
Kaims CastleNN8612Fortlet W of road
WestertonNN8714Watch-Tower E of road
StrageathNN8918Small Fort
ParkneukNN9118Watch-Tower S of road
Reith/Raith?NN9318Watch-Tower S of road
ArdunieNN9418Watch-Tower S of road
RoundlawNN9518Watch-Tower N of road
KirkhillNN9618Watch-Tower S of road
Muir o'FauldNN9818Watch-Tower S of road
Gask HouseNN9919Watch-Tower S of road
Witch KnoweNN9919Watch-Tower N of road
Moss SideNO0019Watch-Tower N of road
Thorny HillNO0220Fortlet, Watch-Tower N of road
WestmuirNO0220Watch-Tower N of road
BerthaNO0926Small Fort

Pottery evidence points to all of these fortifications north of the Clyde/Forth being abandoned sometime before AD90.

The Withdrawal from Scotland

Following the withdrawal from the Highland borders around the Tay many other forts in lowland Scotland were decommissioned, and in the early 90's the northernmost frontier was delineated by a series of strongly held forts across the southern margins of the Cheviot Hills at Newstead, Oakwood, Milton, Dalswinton and Glenlochar.

Evidence for this period comes in the form of dateable pottery and structural remains. Newstead, Oakwood and Glenlochar exhibit two separate first-century structural phases. Milton went through at least two, possibly three phases of development during the first century. Dalswinton had perhaps as many as four separate first-century building phases. Late-first century samian ware has been unearthed at both Newstead and Dalswinton. Late-first century samian ware has been found at Castlecary, but no first-century structural remains have been discovered. As many as four first-century phases have been uncovered during excavations at the small fort on Loudoun Hill. The latest samian pottery from these forts was produced in the last decade of the first century which probably points to their being evacuated sometime about the turn of the second century.

Dispositions During Flavian Period II (c.AD90 - c.105)

NameN.G.Ref.Description
CORSTOPITVM (Corbridge, Northumberland)NY9864Large Fort
ALAVNA (Learchild, Northumberland)NU1011Large Fort
TRIMONTIVM (Newstead, Borders)NT5734Large Fort
Milton, Dumfries & GallowayNT0901Large Fort
Dalswinton, Dumfries & GallowayNX9384Large Fort
Glenlochar, Dumfries & GallowayNX7364Large Fort
BREMENIVM (High Rochester, Northumberland)NY8398Medium-Sized Fort
Broomholm, Dumfries & GallowayNY3781Medium-Sized Fort
Oakwood, BordersNT4224Medium-Sized Fort
Loudoun Hill (Strathclyde)NS6037Medium-Sized Fort
Cappuck, BordersNT6921Small Fort
Chew Green, NorthumberlandNT7808Fortlet
Castlecary, CentralNS7978Fortlet

The Stanegate Fortifications
listed from east to west

NameN.G.Ref.Description
Washing Wells, Whickham, Tyne & WearNZ2160fort overlooking the Tyne
CORSTOPITVM (Corbridge, Northumberland)NY9864large fort at the Dere Street/River Tyne crossing
Newbrough, NorthumberlandNY8667probable fort
VINDOLANDA (Chesterholm, Northumberland)NY7766fort
Haltwhistle Burn, NorthumberlandNY7166small fort
MAGNIS (Carvoran, Northumberland)NY6266fort at Stangate junction with Maiden Way
Throp, NorthumberlandNY6365small fort
Nether Denton, CumbriaNY5964fort
Old Church, Brampton, CumbriaNY5161fort
LVGVVALIVM (Carlisle, Cumbria)NY3956large fort guarding the Eden bridge
ABALLAVA (Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria)NY3259forts and watchtower
Kirkbride, CumbriaNY2257fort on the Wampool estuary

Hadrianic Period (c.AD122 - c.136)
Hadrian's Wall Forts - listed from east to west

NameN.G.Ref.Description
SEGEDVNVM (Wallsend, Tyne & Wear)NZ3066Fort
PONS AELIVS (Newcastle, Tyne & Wear)NZ2564Fort
CONDERCVM (Benwell, Tyne & Wear)NZ2164Fort
VINDOBALA (Rudchester, Northumberland)NZ1167Fort
ONNVM (Halton Chesters, Northumberland)NY9968Fort
CILVRNVM (Chesters, Northumberland)NY9170Fort
BROCOLITIA (Carrawburgh, Northumberland)NY8571Fort
VERCOVICIVM (Housesteads, Northumberland)NY7868Fort
AESICA (Greatchesters, Northumberland)NY7066Fort
CAMBOGLANNA (Birdoswald, Cumbria)NY6166Fort
BANNA (Castlesteads, Cumbria)NY5163Fort
VXELODVNVM (Stanwix, Cumbria)NY4057Fort
ABALLAVA (Burgh by Sands, Cumbria)NY3259Fort
CONCAVATA (Drumburgh, Cumbria)NY2659Fort
MAIA (Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria)NY2262Fort

The Outpost Forts and the Hinterland of the Wall

NameN.G.Ref.Description
ARBEIA (South Shields, Tyne & Wear)NZ3667Fort at mouth of the Tyne
MAGNIS (Carvoran, Northumberland)NY6266Fort on Stanegate
FANVM COCIDI (Bewcastle, Cumbria)NY5674Northern Outpost Fort
CASTRA EXPLORATORVM (Netherby, Cumbria)NY3971Northern Outpost Fort
BLATOBVLGIVM (Birrens, Dumfries & Galloway)NY2175Northern Outpost Fort
VINDOLANDA (Chesterholm, Northumberland)NY7766Fort on Stanegate
ALAVNA (Maryport, Cumbria)NY0437Fort of the 'Western Sea Defences'
GABROSENTVM (Moresby, Cumbria)NX9821Fort of the 'Western Sea Defences'
MEDIOBOGDVM (Hardknott, Cumbria)NY2101Hinterland Fort
LAVATRIS (Bowes, Durham)NY9913Hinterland Fort

Antonine Period I (c.AD142 - c.158)
The Antonine Wall - listed from east to west

NameN.G.Ref.Description
VELVNIATE (Carriden, Central)NT0280Fort and Minor Settlement
Kinneil, CentralNS9780Fortlet
Mumrills, CentralNS9179Fort
Falkirk, CentralNS8879Fort
Watling Lodge, CentralNS8679Fortlet
Rough Castle, CentralNS8479Fort
Seabegs, CentralNS8179Fortlet
Castlecary, CentralNS7978Fort
Westerwood, StrathclydeNS7677Fort
Croy Hill, StrathclydeNS7376Fort, Fortlet and Minor Settlement
Bar Hill, StrathclydeNS7075Fort
Auchendavy, StrathclydeNS6774Fort
Kirkintilloch, StrathclydeNS6574Fort
Glasgow Bridge, StrathclydeNS6373Fortlet
Cadder, StrathclydeNS6172Fort
Wilderness Plantation, StrathclydeNS5972Fortlets
Balmuildy, StrathclydeNS5871Fort
Summerston, StrathclydeNS5772Fortlet
Bearsden, StrathclydeNS5472Fort
Castle Hill, StrathclydeNS5272Fort
Cleddans, StrathclydeNS5072Fortlet
Duntocher, StrathclydeNS4972Fort and Fortlet
Old Kilpatrick, StrathclydeNS4673Fort
Bishopton, StrathclydeNS4169Fort on south bank of the Clyde

Other Antonine Encampments

Barburgh Mill - VRML Model
Barburgh Mill Fortlet in Dumfries & Galloway
VRML Model Prepared in the RBO Scriptorium
NameN.G.Ref.Description
TRIMONTIVM (Newstead, Borders)NT5734Large Fort
Glenlochar, Dumfries & GallowayNX7364Large Fort
CORSTOPITVM (Corbridge, Northumberland)NY9864Fort
HABITANCVM (Risingham, Northumberland)NY8986Fort
BREMENIVM (High Rochester, Northumberland)NY8398Fort
Inveresk, LothianNT3472Fort
Cramond, LothianNT1976Fort
CASTRA EXPLORATORVM (Netherby)NY3971Fort
BLATOBVLGIVM (Birrens, Dumfries & Galloway)NY2175Fort
Carzield, Dumfries & GallowayNX9681Fort
Lyne, BordersNT1840Fort
Castledykes, StrathclydeNS9244Fort
Loudoun Hill, StrathclydeNS6037Fort
Bothwellhaugh, StrathclydeNS7357Fort
Whitemoss, ??Fort
CAMELON (Camelon, Central)NS8680Fort
ALAVNA (Ardoch, Tayside)NN8309Fort
Strageath, TaysideNN8918Fort
Bertha, TaysideNO0926Fort
Cappuck, BordersNT6921Small Fort
Raeburnfoot, Dumfries & GallowayNY2599Small Fort
Crawford, StrathclydeNS9521Small Fort
Chew Green, NorthumberlandNT7808Fortlet
Oxton, Borders?Fortlet
Burnswark, Dumfries & GallowayNY1878Fortlet
Barburgh Mill, Dumfries & GallowayNX9088Fortlet
Durisdeer, Dumfries & GallowayNS9004Fortlet
Milton, Dumfries & GallowayNT0901Fortlet
Redshaw Burn, StrathclydeNT0213Fortlet
Wandel, StrathclydeNS9426Fortlet
Lurg Moor, Strathclyde?Fortlet
Outerwards, StrathclydeNS2366Fortlet

Antonine Period II (c.AD158 - c.162)

NameN.G.Ref.Description
TRIMONTIVM (Newstead, Borders)NT5734Large Fort
Glenlochar, Dumfries & GallowayNX7364Large Fort
CORSTOPITVM (Corbridge, Northumberland)NY9864Fort
HABITANCVM (Risingham, Northumberland)NY8986Fort
BREMENIVM (High Rochester, Northumberland)NY8398Fort
Inveresk, LothianNT3472Fort
Cramond, LothianNT1976Fort
CASTRA EXPLORATORVM (Netherby)NY3971Fort
BLATOBVLGIVM (Birrens, Dumfries & Galloway)NY2175Fort
Castledykes, StrathclydeNS9244Fort
Bothwellhaugh, StrathclydeNS7357Fort
Whitemoss, ??Fort
CAMELON (Camelon, Central)NS8680Fort
ALAVNA (Ardoch, Tayside)NN8309Fort
Strageath, TaysideNN8918Fort
Bertha, TaysideNO0926Fort
Cappuck, BordersNT6921Small Fort
Crawford, StrathclydeNS9521Small Fort
Chew Green, NorthumberlandNT7808Fortlet
Milton, Dumfries & GallowayNT0901Fortlet
Lyne, BordersNT1840Fortlet
Lurg Moor, Strathclyde?Fortlet
Outerwards, StrathclydeNS2366Fortlet
The Antonine Wall was reoccupied at this time (see above).

Severan Marching Camps in Scotland

NameN.G.Ref.Description
Kirkpatrick, Dumfries & Galloway?Small Camp
Castlecraig?, Borders?Small Camp
Eskbank?, Lothian?Small Camp
Craigarnhall, Central?Small Camp
ALAVNA (Ardoch, Tayside)NN8309Small Camp
Innerpeffray, Tayside?Small Camp
Broomhill, ??Small Camp
HORREA CLASSIS (Carpow, Fife)NO2017Small Camp
Auchtermuchty, Fife?Small Camp
Scone Park, Tayside?Small Camp
Longforgan, Tayside?Small Camp
Lintrose, Tayside?Small Camp
Eassie, Tayside?Small Camp
Kirkbuddo, Tayside?Small Camp
Kinnell, Tayside?Small Camp
Lunanhead, Tayside?Small Camp
Marcus, Tayside?Small Camp
Keithock, Tayside?Small Camp
Raedykes, Grampian?Medium Camp
Normandykes, Grampian?Medium Camp
Kintore, Grampian?Medium Camp
Ythan Wells, Glenmailen, Grampian?Medium Camp
Muiryfold, Grampian?Medium Camp
ALAVNA (Ardoch, Tayside)NN8309Large Camp
Innerpeffray, Tayside?Large Camp
Grassy Walls, Tayside?Large Camp
Cardean, Tayside?Large Camp
Oathlaw, Tayside?Large Camp
Balmakewan, Grampian?Large Camp
Kair House, Gampian?Large Camp
TRIMONTIVM (Newstead, Borders)NT5734Massive Camp
St. Leonards, Borders?Massive Camp
Channelkirk, Borders?Massive Camp
Pathhead, Lothian?Massive Camp
Inveresk?, Lothian?Massive Camp

Third/Fourth Century Forts

NameN.G.Ref.Description
HORREA CLASSIS (Carpow, Fife)NO2017Possible Large Fort
Cramond, LothianNT1976Possible Medium-Sized Fort
TRIMONTIVM (Netherby, Borders)NT5734Medium-Sized Fort
FANVM COCIDI (Bewcastle, Cumbria)NY5674Medium-Sized Fort
BREMENIVM (High Rochester, Northumberland)NY8398Medium-Sized Fort
HABITANCVM (Risingham, Northumberland)NY8986Medium-Sized Fort
Cappuck, BordersNT6921Fortlet