Roman Fort & Minor Settlement

Piercebridge, Durham

NGRef: NZ2115
OSMap: LR93
Type: Roman Fort, Minor Settlement
Roads
Dere Street: N (9) to VINOVIVM (Binchester, Durham) via Sandforth Moor
Dere Street: S (11) to CATARACTONIVM (Catterick, North Yorkshire)

The Piercebridge Roman Settlement

The Roman road Dere Street passes through the Piercebridge area from north to south and runs through a field known as the Tofts to the east of the Piercebridge fort, a minor road runs west for a distance of some 500 feet from the main road to connect directly with the east gateway of the fort; another road similarly branches eastwards off the Dere Street a little way to the north. The stone foundations of many long, rectangular buildings with their narrow ends fronting onto these streets were visible as crop-marks over most of the field, an area of about 11 acres (c.4.4 ha); there are indications that the settlement extended into the field to the north. (JRS 1956 pp.82/3.)

The Epigraphic Evidence from Piercebridge

There are eight inscriptions recorded in the R.I.B. for Piercebridge; a statue base and two altarstones dedicated to the god Jupiter, another altar dedicated to Mars, a building inscription of the Sixth Legion, a tombstone of a German auxiliary soldier, a possible milestone and a stone inscribed simply BELLINVS "For/To/From Bellinus" (RIB 1027). The texts of all these stones are given on this page.

The Roman Military at Piercebridge

Legio Secundae Augusta - The Second Augustan Legion

I O M DOLICHENO PRO SALVTE VEXIL LEG VI ET EXER G VTRI VSQ > A M LOLL VENATORE > LEG II AVG VSLM
"To Jupiter Best and Greatest of Doliche, for the well-being of the Vexillation from the Sixth Victorious Legion and the army. Acting commander Gaius Utrius the centurion, and Lollius Venator centurion of the Second Augustan Legion, willingly and deservedly fulfill their vow.¹"
(JRS lvii (1967), p.205, no.16; statue base)
  1. The trailing half of this translation may be a bit dodgy.

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

LEG VI V
"The Sixth Victorious Legion [made this]."
(RIB 1025)

Tombstone from Piercebridge Attesting the Twenty-Second Legion Primigenia

D M ... GRACILI ORDINATO GERMAN SVPERIOR LEG XXII AVRELIA ...ILLA CONIVGI FACIENDVM CVRAVIT
"To the shades of the departed [...] Gracilis, a regular soldier of the Twenty-second Legion from Upper Germany. Aurelia [...]illa his wife oversaw the making [of this memorial]."
(RIB 1026; tombstone)

The Gods of Roman Piercebridge

Altarstones Dedicated to the God Jupiter

IOVI. ...L. .R.ONI S VSLM I O M DOLYCHENO IVL VALENTINVS ORD GER SVP EX IVSSV IPSIVS POSVIT PRO SE ET SVIS L L M PRAESENTE EX EXTRICATO II COS
"To Jupiter [...]-eronis willingly and deservedly fulfills his vow." "For Iupitter Optimus Maximus of Doliche. Julius Valentinus, an Ordinarius from Upper Germany, of his own perogative, has placed this for himself and his family, gladly, freely and deservedly. When the consuls were Praesens and Extricatus,² (the latter) for the second time."
(RIB 1021; altarstone) (RIB 1022; altarstone; dated: AD217)
  1. An Ordinarius was an 'ordinary' (i.e. 'regular') soldier.
  2. Gaius Bruttius Praesens and Titus Messius Extricatus were ordinary consuls for A.D.217 (a.u.c.970).

Altarstone of Mars Condatus

D M CONDATI ATTONIVS QVINTIANVS MEN EVOC IMP EX IVS SOL L A
"For the god Mars Condatus, Attonius Quintianus Men[ander?] ...?"
(RIB 1024; altarstone)

Possible Roman Milestone from Piercebridge

A Roman milestone is reputed to have been found just north of Piercebridge (at N.G.Ref. NZ2016), but I have no record of the text - I am presuming that RIB 1023 is the culprit.

... M D O ... ... M P C C ...
"[...] M D O [...] two hundred thousand paces [...]"
(RIB 1023; milestone?)

Click here for the Fort on Holmes House Farm, ¾-mile east of Piercebridge

Click here for the Sandforth Moor Temporary Camp, 3 miles north of Piercebridge

Click here for the Holme House Villa, about 1½ miles south-east of Piercebridge

See: Chronology of the Ancient World by E.J. Bickerman (Thames & Hudson, London, 1980);
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1951-5 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlv (1956) pp.82-91;
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.
For a 3D reconstruction of Roman Piercebridge go here: www.Piercebridge.com