NAVIO

Roman Fort

Brough-on-Noe, Derbyshire

NGRef: SK1882
OSMap: LR110
Type: Fort, possible settlement.
Roads
NW (12) to ARDOTALIA (Melandra Castle, Derbyshire)
ENE (17) to DANVM (Doncaster, South Yorkshire)
SW (8) to AQVAE ARNEMETIAE (Buxton, Derbyshire)

Navio - (The Place on the River) Anavia

The only classical geography which contains the Roman name for Brough-on-Noe is the seventh-century Ravenna Cosmology (R&C#106), which contains the name Nauione or Navione between the entry for Bannovallum (Horncastle) in Lincolnshire and the other two Derbyshire entries Aquae Arnemetiae (Buxton) and Ardotalia (Melandra Castle).

If the entry in the Ravenna Cosmology were the only source for the name it would be a bit tentative, however, further confirmation is contained in the R.I.B.. This work records a Roman milestone at Buxton in Derbyshire, some eleven miles to the south-west of Brough-on-Noe, the text of which is reproduced and translated below.

Milestone from Aquae Arnemetiae

... TRIB POT COS II P P A NAVIONE M P XI
"... Tribunician Power, Consul two times, Father of his Country,
eleven thousand paces from Navio."

(RIB 2243; milestone)

The Navio Auxiliary Fort

This rectangular fort with an area of 2¼ acres was established in Flavian times, but by the time of Hadrian the ditches had silted-up which is a sure indication that the fort had been abandoned by the military. The site was re-occupied during the Antonine period, and a new fort built of stone, with a six foot stone wall which was probably backed by an earthen rampart. This rebuilding is attested on an inscription of governor Julius Verus which was later smashed and buried in debris around AD196/7 which possibly indicates that the fort was destroyed by enemy forces. The strong-room in the centre of the fort was rebuilt shortly afterwards during the rule of Severus, and by 343 this room was used to store a number of altarstones, which were still in situ when excavated, together with a number of "4 century coins".

A section across the south defences conducted in 1969 revealed a triple-ditch system:

  1. Inner: 14ft (c.4.3m) wide & 6ft (c.1.8m) deep, containing burnt rubble from the demolition of the Antonine timber buildings, also faced stones probably from the later rampart wall.
  2. Central: 12ft (c.3.7m) wide & 5ft (c.1.5m) deep.
  3. Outer: 5ft (c.1.5m) wide & 2&fracc12;ft (c.0.8m) deep, lying some 25 feet (7.6m) outside the inner pair. This outer ditch was perhaps a range marker for missile weapons hurled from the fort rampart.

Roman Inscriptions From Brough-on-Noe

There are - in addition to the stone from Buxton - four inscriptions in Latin which have been recovered from the close neighbourhood of Brough-on-Noe, all of these texts are reproduced and translated below.

Cohors Primae Aquitanorum - First Cohort of Aquitani

IMP CAESARI T AEL HADR ANTONINO AVG PIO P P COH I AQVITANORVM SVB IVLIO VERO LEG AVG PR PR INSTANTE CAPITONIO PRISCO PRAE
"For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of his country,¹ the First Cohort of Aquitanians² [made this] under [the administration] of Julius Verus,³ pro-praetorian legate of the emperor, [and dedicated] in the presence of the prefect Capitonius Priscus [their commander]."
(RIB 283; dated: c.AD158)
  1. The emperor Antoninus Pius ruled the Empire from 10th July AD138, after the death of his adoptive father the emperor Hadrian, until his death of natural causes on 7th March 161. He was given the title Pater Patriae in 139.
  2. This auxiliary infantry regiment was originally recruited from among the Aquitanian tribes who inhabited the Bassin Aquitain, the Guyenne and the Gascogne regions of south-western France. Their capital town was Burdigala on the Garumna Fluvius, now known as Bordeaux on the lower Garonne. The regiment had a nominal strength of around five-hundred foot soldiers, but the small size of the Navio fort suggests that as little as half the unit was actually stationed here. This being the case, it is possible that another detachment of this unit may have been stationed at a possible fort sited nearby at Bakewell (vide RIB 278).
  3. The propraetor Gnaeus Julius Verus was appointed governor of Britain sometime before AD158.

Altar Dedicated to the Goddess Arnomecte

DEAE ARNOMECTE AEL MOTIO V S L L M
"To the goddess Arnomectis,¹ Aelius Motio willingly, gladly and deservedly fulfills his vow."
(RIB 281; altarstone)
  1. The Latin grammar displayed on this stone appears to be somewhat unclear, and the goddess may have been named Arnomecte, Arnomectae or whatever. It is possible that she was a Celtic water deity associated with the River Noe.
  2. The dedicator's name likewise has an obscure ending, and is clearly provincial.

Altarstone to the God Mars

DEO MARTI ...
"To the god Mars [...]¹"
(RIB 282; altarstone)
  1. The latter part of this inscription is damaged, unfortunately.

Restored Dedication to the God Hercules

HERCVLI ... G ... RESTITVTIONEM PS ACAEP A SC ... ... PROCVLVS PRAEF POSVIT IDEMQVE DEDICAVIT
"For Hercules [...] Gaius [...] the rebuilding {PS ACAEP A SC}¹ [...] Proculus the prefect has placed this with the same dedication."
(altarstone; Britannia xi (1980), p.404, no.3)
  1. This phrase is difficult to expand and translate, but I'm working on it!
See: Britannia i (1970) p.283;
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.

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