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Site record MDR5358 - Roman fort (site of), Chesterfield

Type and Period (1)

  • (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The remains of two successive Roman forts at Chesterfield have been discovered by excavations. The excavations were carried out by North Derbyshire Archaeological Society in 1974-7 at sites in Church Lane (SK 384 711), Swan Yard (SK 386 712) and Spa Lane/Station Road (SK 386 711). The first fort was of Claudian date (41-54 AD) oriented north - south. The south defences of this fort were located in Church Lane and the south east angle at Station Road. The defences of this fort comprised a ditch, intervallum road and clay rampart. Later in the first century this fort was dismantled and a smaller one built on a different alignment: north north east - south south west. The eastern defences, located on the west side of Station Road, consisted of a clay and turf rampart, 7.5m wide, and a ditch, 3.0m wide. During a second phase, there was a six-post gateway here. Only the ditch of a third phase was found. This fort was abandoned in the mid 2nd century. An annexe to the first fort ran west - east downhill from the south east corner towards the river Rother. At the Swan Yard site, remains of timber buildings within the fort were found. These were in four phases, the first circa 70-80 AD; the latest pottery found was of 120-130 AD. These buildings, and the defences, were succeeded by a ginal occupation phase of iron-working furnaces about 130 AD and no evidence was found of any occupation, civil or military, after the second century. (1-3) Liversidge (4) states that the Roman place-name "Lvtvdarvm" is probably Chesterfield, but Rivet and Smith (5) say that it is too far to the north east and that a site near Wirksworth is indicated. (4-5) The first fort at Chesterfield laid out about AD 54-55, and possibly of the standard rectangular plan, was sited on the 300ft. O.D. contour of the spur. A second phase is represented by a curving ditch added to the south-east corner, and by two groups of internal timber structures. A large ditch to the south of these features may be identified as an annexe. Pottery evidence demonstrates demolition of this feature around AD 80 with perhaps a caretaker garrison in occupation thereafter. Around AD 100, the fort was rebuilt with an eastern entrance on the Station Road (1975) site and the south-east corner lying just north of the present road junction of Spa Lane and Station Road. The final phase of occupation of the fort is marked by a number of ovens and furnaces connected with metal-working. The fort was abandoned around AD 140 and does not appear to have been re-occupied by a military garrison. This is a tentative summary pending completion of post-excavation analysis and full publication. (6) SK 384 712. Excavation during the last ten years has led to re-assessment of the location and date of the fort, which occupies a promontory west of Station Road; topographical indications suggest a size of c. 2.8 ha (7 acres), and the finds an occupation c. AD 80-100. The south side lies south of the Church Lane, where a ditch was found in 1974, apparently curving outwards at a gate; west of this in the Vicarage garden the ditch resumes the alignment with indications of a demolished turf rampart. North of the gate-position, at Alpine Garden, three wall-trenches define the SE corner of a military building with which Flavian samian was associated; the most southerly of these (40cm wide by 20cm deep) lies just north of an Iron Age defensive ditch, apparently backfilled when the fort was built. The significance of the ditches previously reported down-slope from Station Road, and the early dates suggested for them, remain to be confirmed. (7)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • --- Unpublished document: Burpoe, M (ARS Ltd). 2019. A Historic Environment Desk-based Assessment of the Site Adjacent the Former Chesterfield County Court, Chesterfield.
  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Britannia 7 1976 322 (R Goodburn).
  • <2> Article in serial: EMAB. Ib 8 1977 387 Frere.
  • <3> Article in serial: Goodburn, R.. 1978. Britannia 9 1978 (R Goodburn). Volume 9. pp 430-2 illus.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Liversidge, J. 1968. Britain in the Roman Empire.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Rivet, A L F and Smith, C. 1979. The Place-Names of Roman Britain. pp 403-4.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500. p 87.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Britannia 16 1985 282.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Courtney, T (NDAC). 1975. Chesterfield, The Recent Archaeological Discoveries.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Riden P. 1984. History of Chesterfield.



Grid reference Centred SK 3856 7110 (358m by 320m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (8)

  • EDR124
  • EDR415
  • EDR416
  • EDR7
  • EDR5160
  • EDR3605
  • EDR3643
  • EDR3772

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 14 2023 2:16PM

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