Brougham Castle: Latin Inscription

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Latin inscription, Brougham Castle © David Gill

The 13th century keep of Brougham Castle, Cumbria incorporates reused masonry from the Roman fort (Brocavum). A Latin funerary inscription is built into the ceiling of the second floor (RIB 787). The person named is Tittus M[..] who died around the age of 32 (‘[pl]us minus’). The monument was set up by his brother.

The Antonine Wall: Legio XX

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Cast of inscription from Hutcheson Hill, now in Chesters Museum © David Gill

In 1865 a Latin inscription (RIB 2198) was recovered at Hutcheson Hill in the western section of the Antonine Wall. Casts were made and the original was taken to the Chicago Museum where it was destroyed in the great fire of October 1871. [See also Canmore]

The inscription records a vexillatio of the 20th Legion Valeria Victrix that had constructed 3000 feet of the wall.

Another inscription, now in the Hunterian Museum, was found in 1969 near Hutcheson Hill and similarly records a vexillatio of the same legion that had constructed 3000 feet of the wall (AE 1971, no.225) [JSTOR].

A third inscription of the Twentieth Legion probably comes from near Duntocher (RIB 2199).

vexillatio of the Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis was found at Duntocher (RIB 2200). This stretch was 3240 feet.

 

 

 

 

Trimontium

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Newstead Roman Fort (Trimontium) © David Gill

The Roman fort of Trimontium (Newstead) stands on the line of Dere Street. The site is marked by a Roman style ‘altar’ erected in 1928 by the Edinburgh Border Counties Association. A series of interpretation boards help visitors to make sense of the setting. The road that cut across the fort has now been closed to traffic and allows easy access.

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Newstead Roman Fort © David Gill

The Latin name is taken from the three hills, i.e. the Eildon Hills.

Small finds from the site are displayed in the museum at Melrose Abbey.

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Melrose Abbey Museum © David Gill

Signs of Dere Street

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Dere Street © David Gill

Dere Street ran north from York to the Firth of Forth, passing through Aldborough, Piercebridge, Corbridge and Newstead. A section of the Roman road can be followed to the south-west of Soutra Aisle as it cuts across the Lammermuir Hills before it drops down to the Forth.

The road continued in use into the Medieval period.

This section of the road is in the case of Historic Scotland.

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Dere Street near Soutra Aisle © David Gill

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Dere Street near Soutra Aisle © David Gill

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Dere Street at Soutra Aisle © David Gill

Legionary inscription in Scotland: Abbotsford

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Abbotsford © David Gill

A fragmentary Latin inscription is built (at an angle) into the garden wall of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott (RIB 2216). It was first known c. 1797 at Callendar House in Falkirk (see Canmore). This location has suggested that the inscription may have been linked to the Antonine Wall. Scott lived at Abbotsford from 1812-32.

The inscription reads: A vexi[llatio]  | of the XXI[I] legion | Primigenia.

At the top left appear to be the legs of what could be a Capricorn, the emblem of Legio XXII. This legion was posted in Upper Germany.

The Legio XXII is also attested from the Roman fort of Birrens, to the north-west of Carlisle (Canmore). An inscription attesting the presence of troops from Legio VIII Augusta and Legio XXII Primigenia was found in 1991 (Britannia 1992, 318, no. 20 [JSTOR]). It has been suggested that this inscription is Antonine in date, and probably associated with troop movements during the construction of the Antonine Wall.

Dumbarton Castle: Spur Battery

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Dumbarton Castle © David Gill

The Spur Battery at Dumbarton Castle was constructed about 1680. It lies to the west of the Governor’s House. The Spur Battery was intended to cover the southern approach to the castle.

Goldsborough Roman Signal Station

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station looking south towards Whitby © David Gill

Goldsborough lies to the north of Whitby in Yorkshire. It was one of a series of Roman signal stations constructed along this piece of coastline.

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station looking north © David Gill

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Goldsborough Roman Signal Station © David Gill

Other known signal stations lie at (from north to south): Huntcliff near Saltburn; Goldsborough; Ravenscar; Castle Hill at Scarborough; and Carr Naze at Filey.

There is an inscription from Ravenscar (RIB 721) that shows that the fort (turrem et castrum) was constructed by Vindicianus who is described as magister, a later rank. The overall commander was Justinianus. Anthony Birley dates the inscription to the 4th century.

Coins from Huntcliff suggest a date from c. 370 to c. 390.

John A. A. Goodall in his discussion of the signal station at Scarborough suggests two theories: a series of signal stations constructed in the wake of the ‘Barbarian Conspiracy’ of 367 (supported by William Hornsby through his excavations); or to the period of Magnus Maximus (383-388).

Bibliography

Bell, T.W. A Roman Signal Station at Whitby. Archaeological Journal 155 , 1 (1998), 303-22.

Hornsby, W., et al. The Roman Fort at Huntcliff, Near Saltburn. The Journal of Roman Studies 2 (1912), 215–32, www.jstor.org/stable/295958.

Hornsby, William, and John D. Laverick. The Roman Signal Station at Goldsborough, Near Whitby. Antiquaries Journal 89, 1 (1932), 203-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00665983.1932.10853589

Ottaway, Patrick, Richard Brickstock, John Carrott, H. E. M. Cool, Keith Dobney, Renée Gajowski, Sandra Garside-Neville, G. D. Gaunt, Allan Hall, Michael Issitt, Deborah Jaques, Frances Large & Jason Monaghan. Excavations on the Site of the Roman Signal Station At Carr Naze, Filey, 1993–94. Archaeological Journal 157, 1 (2000), 79-199.

Southern, P. Signals versus Illumination on Roman Frontiers. Britannia 21 (1990), 233–42, www.jstor.org/stable/526297.