Roman Forts - The Roman Empire
The Roman Forts date from the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509BC to the transfer of the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople in 330AD. The Romans invasion of Britain started in 43AD. The Roman Occupation of the UK was to last for nearly 500 years.
History of the Roman Invasion of England
The Romans invasion started in 43AD. Hillforts such as Maiden Castle were captured and the English Celtic tribes lead by leaders like Caratacus were conquered. The Iceni Queen, Boadicea, lead a revolt against the Romans in 60AD but were savagely defeated - Hillforts, Slings and War Chariots were no match for the discipline and weapon technology of the Roman Army. The Roman Occupation was to last for nearly 500 years. The Romans left of their own accord responding to a recall to Rome to defend their homeland in 410AD when the Visigoths, led by Alaric, sacked Rome.
Roman Forts in England
The Roman occupation of England lasted for nearly 500 years. Roman architecture and buildings left their mark on England. The Romans were great fortress builders - the purpose of these constructions were as fortified bases. These fortified bases were built as defences and as power bases. Wooden stockades were erected, surrounded by ditches, wherever they camped and whenever Roman Forts were built. Manpower, organisation and pre-fabricated forts enabled the Romans to build Roman Forts quickly and efficiently.
Description and Design of Roman Forts
Roman building and their architecture was often rigid - the design of their forts and stockades were tried and tested and always followed the same architectural design. The Roman fort featured the following elements:
- A strategic site was always chosen
- A fort could hold up to 800 men
- The fort was rectangular
- The fort was surrounded by a wide ditch
- A stockade was erected on top of the ditch which formed a defensive barrier made of timber posts
- A rampart was built with the earth from the ditch together with heavy stones
- Each fort had four stone gateways affording entrances on each side
- Watchtowers were also a feature reaching a height of 30 feet (9 metres)
- Roman Architecture and design dictated that two main streets crossed the fort
- Wooden structures were built serving as the Commanders headquarters, houses, hospital, workshops, barracks (sometimes tents) granaries, stables and a prison
- There was even a Fire Brigade within the fort!
- Some of the wooden Roman Forts were later replaced with stone buildings
- Stone Roman forts and buildings featured one of their great inventions - concrete! Concrete was made by mixing a strong volcanic material ( called pazzolana ) with rubble and a mixture of limes.
Roman Forts - Pre-Fabricated Designs and Concrete!
The continuous construction of forts and stockade, led to the development of pre-fabricated materials and standard parts. Timbers were cut to specific sizes. Grooves were pre-cut ready for fast construction and Blacksmiths produced iron nails in all different shapes and sizes.
Examples of Ancient Ancient Roman Forts
There are many examples of remains of Ancient Roman Forts in England and Wales. The following lists of locations and sites of the remains of famous Ancient Roman forts:
- Roman Town and Fort - Londinium
- Fort - Pevensey
- Fort - Piercebridge
- Fort - Rochester
- Fort - Smith Shields
- Roman Town and Fort - Wroxeter
- Roman Town and Fort - York
- Roman Fort - Ambleside
- Fort - Ardoch
- Roman Fort - Binchester
- Roman Fort - Burgh Castle
- Fort - Chesters - Hexham
- Town & Fort - Cirencester ( Corinium) - Glos.
- Fort and Town - Dorchester, Dorset
- Roman Fort - Hardknott - Cumbria
- Roman Fort - High Rochester - Northumberland
Ancient Roman Forts in England and Wales
The Roman occupation of England lasted for nearly 500 years. Ancient Roman Forts left their mark on England and Wales as the above remains will testify. The Romans constructed many other buildings. They left a legacy of Roman Villas, Roman Temples, Roman towns like Londinium, Roman Walls like Hadrians Wall and great Roman Roads like the Fosse Way and Watling Street - changing the face of England forever.