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Scheduled Monument record MDR4950 - Castle Hill Roman Fort, Pentrich

Type and Period (2)

  • (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD? (approximately))

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

[SK 38585412] Castle Hill [T.I.] Roman Camp [G.S] (Site of). (1) 'At Pentrich (SK 386541) … an almost square earthwork (150 ft. from north to south by 135 ft.) lies in a commanding position on a ridge-top. Both the rampart and the hollow over the ditch system are about 30 ft. wide. There is a gate in the centre of each of the north and south sides, where a gap occurs in the rampart and a causeway leads across the ditch. This earthwork is certainly in the fashion of Roman work, while the position is a good one from which to watch a considerable length of the road [Ryknild Street] so that the site has good claims to be identified as a small Roman fort. The earthwork stands centrally within a larger enclosure about 300 by 240 ft. in size, the nature of which remains unestablished, but which may, be an earlier Roman work'. (2) In March and May 1909, trenches were cut in various parts of the camp at Castle Hill to the north of Coneygrey House, Pentrich. The site was grass covered. An inner vallum 40 ft. wide at the base was found, surrounded by an outer one, the distance between bases being 30 ft. Two 'ribs' of unmortared sandstone blocks 'appeared to run longitudinally with the vallum, eighteen inches below the surface and eight feet apart, i.e. four feet from the centre on each side'. A layer of unmortared paving was met in each trench just below the turf. Fourteen pottery fragments were found, recognised as Roman by John Ward. A small Neolithic flint scraper was also found (Position not stated). (Smithard gives a very disjointed report on what must have been a very badly executed excavation. No plans or sections are given and the illustrations of pottery sherds are not very illuminating).(3) Pegge, writing on the camp at Pentrich, adds in a footnote, 'Sir Edward Wilmot says he saw a Roman coin found in this camp'. (4) Roman potsherds, coin and quern fragments (late 1st century and early 2nd century) are in the possession of the owner of Coneygrey Farm. Seen by Kay (1949). (5) A test trench, 16ft and 3ft, was dug in Pentrich Camp, on the east side, at right angles to the inside of the ditch depression. The trench did not touch the defences. A very thin occupation layer yielded pottery that can be paralleled by that from the AD 80-100 levels at Margidunum (Nottinghamshire) and Leicester. The soil nature reduced the pottery fragments to a very friable state and difficult to handle. A bronze ligula was almost reduced to powder and a bronze fibula was only identifiable by its powdered shape in the earth. A quern fragment was of local origin. It would seem that the occupation was temporary and there is no evidence to suggest any occupation in later centuries. (6, 7) Castle Hill Camp, South Wingfield is a scheduled monument. (8) A square camp with a double vallum, noticed by Pegge in 1769. Trenches were cut in 1909. No traces of walls were found but a paving c. 1 inch thick of small stones without mortar, and Roman pottery were discovered. The inner vallum is 50 paces long in each direction. (9) A camp at Pentrich has a Roman square figure with a double vallum. It is close to the road, one coin at least has been found within it and the distances to Little Chester and Chesterfield - 11 or 12 miles - well suit its being a mansio. (11) The 1956/7 excavations revealed evidence of timber buildings but nothing more permanent was found. The material at Coneygrey Farm has come from sporadic excavations by different groups of people in the past 20-30 years. In my opinion the site is that of an early (1st century A.D.) Roman fortlet and both enclosures are contemporary. The earthworks now visible in the rough pasture comprise a wide, spread bank, averaging 10m in width and 0.5m high with traces of an outer ditch at the north and south, broken by distinct causeways. The bank forms a sub-rectangular enclosure with rounded corners. To the north and south of the site are further fragments of ditch, averaging 6m wide and 0.5m deep. The ground on the east and west sides is uneven but no definite continuation of the ditches to form an enclosure can now be identified. However, on Aps by Dr. J.K. St. Joseph- EG 016, EG 18 and EG 20 (the latter seen in Derby Museum) the outer enclosure is distinctly visible on all but the west side as a bank with outer ditch. On the west there are faint traces of the fourth side mutilated by a later terrace-way. No opinion of the date of the outer enclosure can be given in view of its present condition. A 25" AM survey has been made. (12) The earthworks are covered in long grass and appear to have been flattened slightly since the report by Authy. 12 in 1959. The adjacent fields are all arable without surface indications of other works. Published survey (25" 1962) correct. (13)

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Map: OS 6" 1921.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: St Joseph, J K. 1953. Journal of Roman Studies. Vol. 43, p 87.
  • <3> Article in serial: Smithard, W. 1911. 'The Roman camp near Coneygrey House, Pentrich', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Vol. 33, pp 111-114.
  • <4> Article in serial: Pegge, S. 1784. Bibliography of the Topography of Britain. Volume 4. p.26.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Corr. 6" (S.O. Kay 1949).
  • <6> Unpublished document: 1957. Letter (S.O. Kay 29.11.57.
  • <7> Article in serial: Kay, S. 1961. 'Some pottery fragments from the Roman Camp at Pentrich', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 81, pp 139-41.
  • <8> Scheduling record: Ministry of Works. 1958. Ancient Monuments of England and Wales.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: T. Codrington. Roman Roads in Britain.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1848. Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire. p 155.
  • <11> Article in serial: Watkin, W. 1886. 'The Roman minor settlements, camps, discoveries of coins etc, and roads in Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeology Journal. Volume 8, pp 190-215. p193-4.
  • <12> Personal Observation: F1 WCW 28-JUL-59.
  • <13> Personal Observation: F2 BHS 10-JUN-66.
  • <14> Index: TPAT. 2395. 2395.
  • <15> Aerial Photograph: 1582/9A 10A 11A 12A 14A.
  • <16> Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record (English Heritage). 1996. Aerial photographs NMR12951/10, 12951/11, 12951/12: 18/11/96.



Grid reference Centred SK 3853 5412 (244m by 211m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR121
  • EDR960
  • EDR1455

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Record last edited

Dec 5 2019 1:42PM

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