NGRef: NY0848
OSMap: LR85
Type: Fort
Military Road: NE (13) to Kirkbride (Cumbria)
military road: SSW (7.5) to Maryport (Maryport, Cumbria)

The sole classical geographical source for the Roman name of the Beckfoot fort is the Bribra entry in the Ravenna Cosmology (R&C#119), which appears between the list entries for Alauna (Maryport) and Maglona (Old Carlisle). The Roman fort at Bibra formed part of the 'Western Sea Defences', a line of forts and watch-towers strung along the north-western coastline of Cumbria; a western extension of Hadrian's Wall.

The Bibra Garrison

To date, only one inscribed stone has been uncovered from Roman Beckfoot, which fortunately provides the name of one of its garrison units; Cohors II Pannoniorum, a five-hundred strong infantry unit from the province of Pannonia, the region of the modern Czech Republic.

Cohors Secundae Pannoniorum - The Second Cohort of Pannonians


"[...]lia the prefect, the Second Pannonian Cohort made [this]."

(RIB 880)

Burial 'Fire-Pits' at Beckfoot

The military cemetery attached to the Beckfoot fort was the site of several notable cremation burials. The usual practice was to cremate the body of the deceased upon a funeral pyre, after which the ashen remains would be collected together, placed in a funerary vessel and then buried in a consecrated spot. The burials here were essentially of this type, except that the funeral pyre was sited within a shallow pit which was later used to house the burial urn. The charred remains of one particular fire-pit burial provided evidence of such quality that the excavator was able to state that the deceased was laid upon a feather-stuffed mattress on an oak bedstead, and that the wood used for the funeral pyre was pine.

Other burials of this type have been identified at Viroconium (Wroxeter, Shropshire).

Numsimatic Evidence from Beckfoot

Only nine coins are recorded here, ranging from 2 coppers of Trajan - one (R.I.C. 411) apparently washed-up on the beach in 1985 - to a single copper of Constantius II, including a small hoard of 3 coins, one each of Julia Domna (201AD), Caracalla (213AD) and Valerian (235-9AD).

See: The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
Roman Coins from North-West England by David Shotter (Lancaster 1990) p.49;
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.

Roman Name

Ravenna Cosmography: Bribra

Page Citation: Kevan White (2018) "Roman Britain: BIBRA"