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Authority Historic England
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 537
Date assigned Friday, June 25, 2010
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150 miles (24l km) per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe, changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles (12.87km) on major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every 20-25 miles (32km-40km)). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the sides of the ;road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs, kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south-west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection. The section of Ryknield Street to the north east of Pear Tree Farm has been recognised to be one of the best preserved sections of Roman road in Derbyshire, surviving for over 100m as an upstanding earthwork that is seemingly undisturbed. It constitutes a significant stretch of the road between the Roman forts at Chesterfield and Pentrich. The monument will retain important archaeological deposits which will contribute significantly to our knowledge and understanding of the form of construction of this important feature of Roman infrastructure. DETAILS This monument includes a section of Ryknield Street Roman road, here visible as an earthwork, forming part of the original Roman road between Chesterfield and Little Chester. This is a proven Roman road serving Chesterfield and Pentrich Roman forts traceable for many miles to the north and south of the site. The earthwork survives well in two sections and the monument is therefore defined by two separate areas of protection. These two areas of Ryknield Street have been identified as the best preserved section of the Roman road certainly within the county of Derbyshire if not further afield. At Old Tupton the road is broadly aligned north-northeast by south-southwest, angling eastwards towards Eckington as it continues northwards of the site. The northernmost section survives as a substantial earthwork approximately 105m in length and 1-1.5m in height and rises to a cambered surface. The western limit-of the earthwork has been obscured through a raising and levelling of the ground to the west of the monument that might relate to the use of the site as a cricket pitch in the early 20th century. The southern area of protection is more denuded standing approximately 0.3m high. It is approximately 30m in length, the southernmost 10m of the earthwork having been truncated, possibly at the time Egstow Hall (a Grade II listed building) was built in the 17th century. The earthwork does not survive above ground immediately beyond this section. Investigation beneath the peak of the camber to the west of Packman's Cottages revealed a stony or hard substrate at a depth of 10-20cm which is understood to be the road surface. A second partial excavation found 5cm by 5cm pieces of sandstone at a depth of 20-25cm. These findings are comparable to the construction material discovered during excavation of a section of the road to the north in New Tupton in May 1975. Here at least two phases of road surfaces were revealed. All hardstandings, fence posts, boundary markers, the roofed structure located in the south west corner of the southern area of protection and the gate and gate posts are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath all these features is included.

External Links (1)

Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2010. Scheduling Notification: Section of Ryknield Street Roman Road 220m north east of Pear Tree Farm. List entry no. 1021444. SM Cat. No. 537.



Grid reference Centred SK 3909 6514 (51m by 235m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SK36NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Feb 6 2023 11:26AM

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