Scheduled Monument: NAVIO ROMAN FORT AND VICUS (1017505)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 27
Date assigned Monday, November 30, 1925
Date last amended Tuesday, December 23, 1997


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the accommodation of troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between the mid first and mid second centuries AD. Some were only used for short periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. Roman forts are rare nationally and are extremely rare south of the Severn Trent line. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important. The remains of Navio Roman fort and its associated vicus survive well and it is the best preserved fort in this area of Midland England. It will contribute to studies of the Roman conquest of this area and to the subsequent pattern of Roman military control in the area. The fort shows evidence that much archaeological material exists below ground. There is also shows good evidence for the survival of the vicus, a settlement area subsistent on the fort although not part of the military infrastructure. Such evidence of relatively undisturbed settlement is rare and important to the understanding of the relationship between the Roman military and civilian settlement. DETAILS The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Navio Roman fort at Brough as well as part of its associated vicus or civilian settlement. The fort stands on a sandstone shale bluff overlooking the confluence of the River Noe and the Bradwell Brook at the northern end of Bradwell Dale. The watercourses form natural defences to the north and east of the fort. The fort is rectangular in plan and measures approximately 90m by 105m. It stands on the higher part of the bluff. The plan of the fort is easily identified: the four sides are evidenced by raised earthen banks around an earthen platform which slopes gently to the north east. These banks indicate the position of the external walls of the fort. The monument has been extensively robbed of stone to the extent that only rough foundations of turf and rubble can be seen on the south east and south west sides. The north east and north west sides of the fort survive as grassed embankments. The north eastern fort wall has slumped a little but remains well defined and overlooks a small spit of land bounded by a meander in the River Noe. The northern corner of the fort have been eroded by river action as has the eastern corner where erosion has exposed and removed rubble from the fort wall. The south eastern wall of the fort is the lowest but some stones visible here may be original foundation stones. These stones appear water worn and include both limestone and sandstone blocks. The south western wall of the fort remains clearly visible as a turf-covered bank. A ditch running close to the wall may be an original drain running from the fort or a later drainage ditch. The north western fort wall is also clearly visible as an earthwork bank although this has been worn where a track passes through approximately on its mid point. The central area of the fort contains several platforms, hollows and linear features with a central lynchet which may be associated with the later track which runs through the site. An intermittent hollow runs from the centre of the north towards the north east and may be the remains of a collapsed or open Roman drain. Alternatively it may be the evidence of recent excavation. Near the centre of the fort a pile of large dressed Millstone Grit slabs remain visible. These exhibit diamond broaching, evidence of a characteristic Roman way of dressing worked building stone. The slabs sit in a sub rectangular hollow which was excavated in 1903 and found to be the underground chamber of the Principia or headquarters building. Further remains of the buildings which originally occupied the fort will survive well across the rest of its interior. To the immediate north west of the fort is a small earthen platform. Its relationship to the fort is not yet fully understood but buried remains offer potential for investigation at this point. The area to the south east of the fort includes remains the remains of part of the civilian settlement or vicus attached to the fort. A series of platforms and hollows indicate that the remains of buildings survive below ground. The raised agger of a Roman road is also still visible in the vicus area and survives as a raised flat-topped bank 4m to 5m wide. It runs across the vicus from the south west but then turns sharply to the north west near the fort to run into it. The full extent of the vicus is not fully understood although it did extend further to the south east into the area now occupied by the modern settlement of Brough. Artefacts found in the area of the present settlement suggest that a cemetery originally flanked the Roman road here. Whether the vicus extended to the south west of the fort remains unclear as land in this area has been much improved in the recent past thus removing any earthwork remains. There have been several partial excavations and surveys of the fort and vicus during the present century. These excavations determined that there were four phases of building on the site beginning with the first fort c.AD 80. The fort was briefly abandoned c.AD 125 and re-established in AD 154-158. An inscription shows that the main headquarters buildings, the Principia, was constructed c.AD 158. The first phase of the fort was an earthern and wooden construction, but succeeding phases incorporated stone buildings, towers, gates ramparts and granaries. The fort continued in use until AD 350 but was then abandoned. The buildings of the vicus appear to have housed various commercial and industrial activities and were established shortly after the first fort was built. Enclosures surrounding some of the buildings indicate that there were also gardens or allotments attached to them. The vicus appears to have been abandoned at the same time as the fort during the 4th century. The fort guarded the principal route from the north east and north west of England as well as the road which ran southwards into the lead producing areas of the Peak District. Excluded from the scheduling are all fences, gates and stiles, although the ground beneath these features is included. SELECTED SOURCES Other Reference - Author: Derbyshire SMR - Title: Brough, Roman Fort - Type: SMR Other Reference - Author: Derbyshire SMR - Title: Derbyshire SMR: Brough, Roman Fort - Type: SMR Book Reference - Author: Hart, C R - Title: North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey ... - Date: 1981 - Page References: 82-108 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Dearne, M J (ed.) - Title: Navio: the fort and Vicus at Brough-on-Noe, Derbyshire. - Date: 1993 - Journal Title: British Archaeological Reports (BAR) - Volume: 234 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Jones G D B - Title: Manchester University Excavations: Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1967 - Date: 1967 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 87 - Page References: 154-8 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Jones G D B and Wild, J P - Title: Excavations at Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1968 - Date: 1968 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 88 - Page References: 89-93 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Jones, G D B - Title: Manchester University Excavations: Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1967 - Date: 1967 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 87 - Page References: 154-8 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Jones, G D B and Wild, J P - Title: Excavations at Brough-on-Noe (Navio) 1968 - Date: 1968 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 88 - Page References: 89-93 - Type: DESC TEXT

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1925. Scheduling Notification: Navio Roman fort and vicus. List entry no. 1017505. SM Cat. No. 27.



Grid reference Centred SK 1818 8268 (292m by 252m)
Map sheet SK18SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Record last edited

Aug 27 2013 3:18PM

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