Carisbrooke Castle: Tudor defences

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Carisbrooke Castle, south-west bastion © David Gill

The castle at Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight had strategic importance in the face of a possible Spanish invasion. Modifications were made to the inner bailey in 1587, and more extensive bastions and outer works were constructed between 1597 and 1602 to the design of the Italian FederigoGiainibelli. These included the creation of arrow-headed bastions.

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Carisbrooke Castle, south-west bastion © David Gill

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Carisbrooke Castle, east bastion © David Gill

Legio II at Benwell

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Inscription from Benwell, Hadrian’s Wall © David Gill

A small inscription was found on the north side of the fort at Benwell on Hadrian’s Wall (RIB 1341). It was first recorded in J. Brand’s History and Antiquities of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne (1789). It is now displayed in the British Museum.

The inscription records work of the Legio II Augusta (repeated on the vexillum) based at Caerleon in south Wales. To the left is a goat, and to the right Pegasus, symbols of the legion.

Other building inscriptions of the Legio II Augusta, relating to the 2nd, 4th and 10th cohorts, are known from round Benwell (RIB 1342, 1343, 1344). David Breeze (Handbook, 14th ed., 158) suggests that they come from the line of the wall around Milecastle 7 (just to the west of the fort): ‘their style suggests a late-second-century date, implying that the Wall in this sector required repair at that time’.

Defending the Solent

Hurst_EH

2001 [1985]

The Solent provides access to the major harbours of Portsmouth and Southampton. Given the naval sensitivities of the area this seaway was heavily defended by a series of fortifications. The western entrance was defended by Hurst Castle built on a spit of land projecting into the Solent. The earliest phase was a Tudor fort contemporary with Deal and Walmer Castles in Kent. The castle was adapted in the Napoleonic Wars, and expanded in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. The English Heritage guidebook is by J.G. Coad.

Yarmouth_EH

2003 [1978]

Yarmouth Castle is located opposite Hurst Castle on the Isle of Wight. This was also a Tudor foundation. The guidebook is by S.E. Rigold.

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1986

Calshot Castle is located at the mouth of Southampton Water. This was also part of the Tudor defences of the Solent. During the First World War, Calshot became a seaplane base to protect against submarines. The guidebook is by J.G. Coad.

Masada: Roman siegeworks

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Masada, Camp F © David Gill

The remains of the Roman siegeworks of Masada have been preserved in the desert. The main fort was located on the western side of Masada, opposite the northern palace. One of the roles was to provide a location of troops close to the siege ramp that was being constructed.

The siege wall can be seen in front of the fort heading for the edge of the wadi.

One of the current issues facing the forts is that increased visitor numbers threaten their preservation.

Reference
Gwyn Davies. “Under Siege: The Roman Field Works at Masada.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 362, 2011, pp. 65–83. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5615/bullamerschoorie.362.0065.

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