NGRef: NT 085 028
OSMap: LR78
Type: Fortlet
Barnhill Fortlet

The Platform of the Barnhill Fortlet
viewed from the field to the south.
The boys are standing on the northern corner-angles.
None identified

The complex of temporary marching camps at Beattock is invisible from ground-level, the remains only being visible from the air, but the small fort overlooking the site from the south-east is worthy of a visit. The platform of the fortlet was visible on the skyline in a freshly ploughed field just west of the minor road to Bearholm Farm, the line of the roman road being visible in the plough-soil as a line of fine grit and stones crossing the field from north-south between the platform and the road. A swift patrol of the fortlet’s interior revealed areas of burning, several pieces of rough earthenware, some 19th century table-ware, and a few pieces of rusting iron, none of which could be proved Roman. The most interesting find was a sherd of blue-green glass, with an undulating, smooth surface on one side and a sand-blasted texture on the other, which is reminiscent of Roman window glass, although the lack of wear at the edges point to it not being in the ground for very long.

Discovered on aerial photographs taken in 1977, this fortlet lies about 440 yards (c.400 m) north of the crossing of the Evan Water at Beattock, on an ancient river terrace, partly overlain by the substantial defences of a large, 29 acre (11.6 ha) temporary marching camp attributed to the campaigns of Quintus Lollius Urbicus during the Antonine period, and therefore should itself date to an earlier, probably Flavian campaign. The camp is partially obliterated by the minor road between Beattock and Dumcrieff, but enough of its outline is known for its size to be reasonably estimated. It is defined by a ditch measuring about 5 feet wide by 2¼ feet deep (1.5 x 0.7 m) enclosing an area approximately 108 feet square (33 m²) or only ¼-acre (0.1 ha). There is a single entrance in the middle of the south-eastern defences. The ditch had been allowed to noticeably silt-up before the rampart was thrown into the ditch, perhaps concurrently with the building of the camp, or perhaps some years previously, during the ordered withdrawal from Scotland to the lines of the Stanegate and Hadrianic frontiers.

See: Britannia xvi (1985) p.267;
Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) pp.21 & 25.
Page Citation: Kevan White (2018) "Roman Britain: BARNHILL"