Roman Auxiliary Fort

Hembury, nr. Honiton, Devon

NGRef: ST1103
OSMap: LR192/193
Type: Fort
Roads
See to Honiton (Devon)

By far the most interesting Iron-Age hillfort in the region lies three miles north-west of Honiton at Hembury Castle (ST1103). Excavations during the 1980's within the hillfort's defences revealed evidence of Roman activity in the form of military-style rectangular wooden huts, mainly granaries and storehouses, which covered about half of the fort's interior. Given the small area occupied, the garrison would have been relatively small, possibly comprising only a couple of legionary centuries. The buildings were in use for only a short period before being deliberately dismantled, the upright posts cut off at ground level and the stumps left to rot in situ. Roman occupancy has been dated to the early 50's AD.

The evidence suggests that Hembury Castle had been abandoned some years prior to the Roman invasion, and was subsequently re-used by Legio II Augusta as a storage depot. It would appear that the abandoned fort provided the Romans with a ready-made defensive enclosure close to the Fosse Way, their main highway to the south-west. The defences remained unaltered apart from the gateways and a little general refurbishment, thus saving the Romans a considerable amount of labor.

See: Historical Map and Guide - Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001).

GoTop

This page was last modified: