Roman Fort

Blennerhasset, Cumbria

NGRef: NY1941
OSMap: LR85
Type: Roman Fort
Roads
NE (6) to MAGLONA (Old Carlisle, Cumbria)
SW (8½) to DERVENTIO (Papcastle, Cockermouth, Cumbria)
"Blennerhasset Cumbria. Blennerheiseta 1188. Celtic *blain 'summit' with an obscure second element,
to which OScand. hey 'hay' and sætr 'shieling' have been added." (Mills, 1998)

The Roman fort at Blennerhasset lies on the main road between Old Carlisle and Papcastle at the crossing of the River Ellen. The fort is protected by a triple ditch system and measures roughly 655 ft. from NNE to SSW by 560 ft. transversely (c.200 x 170 m), covering an area of about 8½ acres (c.3.4 ha). There are four gateways, those in the NNE and SSW set centrally in their sides, those in the longer WNW and ESE sides being off-set slightly to the NNE, the fort therefore faces NNE towards the river Ellen. The modern name contains both Celtic and Old Scandinavian elements which suggest that the site was being used during the Viking period. There are no inscriptions on stone recorded in the R.I.B. for this area.

There is a nearby fort at Caermote (NY2036), which, due to its location about 3 miles away from the line of the Roman road to the SSE, almost certainly predates the Blennerhasset site which is thought to date to the early 2nd century AD., around the same time as many of the sites along the Stanegate.

See: Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford 1998);
The Proceedings of the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological and Antiquarian Society XC (1990) pp.127-137;
Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) pp.12/13.

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