NGRef: NY5328
OSMap: LR90
Type: Fort, Minor Settlement, Camp

Roads
SW (20) to Ambleside (Ambleside, Cumbria)
E (7) to Bravoniacvm (Kirkby Thore, Cumbria)
Itinera II et V: NNW (7) to Voreda (Old Penrith, Cumbria)
S (18) to Low Borrowbridge (Cumbria)
NNW (4.5) to Plvmpton Head
N (5) to Salkeld Gate
N (4) to Stonybeck

The ancient name for the Brougham fort has been identified from two ancient geographical references; the Brocavo item of the Antonine Itinerary is listed 20 miles from VERTERIS (Brough Castle, Cumbria) and 22 miles from LVGVVALIVM (Carlisle, Cumbria) at the terminus of Iter V, also the Brocara of the Ravenna Cosmology (R&C#156), which occurs between the entries for FANVM COCIDI (Bewcastle, Cumbria) and the inidentified station Croucingo.

The Brocavum Fort

The fort is sited in a field adjacent to Brougham Castle Farm, just off the A66 trunk road about two miles south of Penrith. There is a small marching camp on the opposite side of the A66 about 400 yards north-east of the fort, sited on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Rivers Eamont and Lowther. Another temporary camp is situated about three miles to the north-east on Langwathby Moor.

Click here for the RBO page on the Brougham Marching Camp

The Garrison Units

Cohors Gallorum?

... RI... GALLOR TRIB MIL LEG VIII AVG

"[...] RI [...] of Gauls, Military Tribune of the Eighth Augustan Legion."

(RIB 782)

This fragmentary inscription is possibly an altar, but unfortunately, both the name of the god and the name of the dedicator have been obliterated. All that remains legible is the latter part of the dedicator's curriculum vitae, which tantalizingly dangles the possibility of a Gallic Cohort being stationed in the Brocavum fort at some time.

The Eighth Legion were present during the initial invasion of Britain in 43AD, very likely acting as escort to the Emperor Claudius, who is documented to have stayed for only sixteen days on the island before leaving for the continent. Vexillations of this legion are known to have been stationed in the province during the early part of the second century and possibly also during the Carausian revolt at the end of the third century, though the context of the inscription means that the legion need not have been in Britain at the time the stone was commissioned.

Numerus Equitum Stratonicianorum?

DEO MARTI ... ... IANVARIVS N EQ STRATONICIANORVM V M

"To the God Mars [...] Januarius of the Company of Cavalrymen from Stratonice deservedly fulfilled his vow."

(RIB 780; altarstone)

This altarstone, though undated, was very likely commissioned during the third century AD by Syrian cavalrymen stationed at the Brougham fort. Stratonice or Stratonicea was a town in the Caria region of Asia Minor, near the modern town of Yatagan in south-western Turkey, which became a Macedonian colony in the third century BC and was later beautified and adorned under the influence of the kings of Syria.

Other Inscribed Stones

DEO BALATVCAIRO BACVLO PRO SE ET SVIS V L S

"To the god Belatucader, Baculus willingly fulfilled his vow, for himself and his family."

(RIB 773; altarstone)

Of all the stone altars recovered from Brocavum over half are dedicated to Belatucader, a Germanic war god often identified with the Roman god of war, Mars. The other gods represented at Brougham are Mars, Victory and Jupiter, all martial gods ideally suited to fulfill the religious needs of a Roman auxiliary soldier.

D M CRESCENTINVS VIXIT ANNIS XVIII VIDARIS PATER POSVIT

"For the spirits of the departed and Crescentinus, who lived for eighteen years, Vidaris his father placed this."

(RIB 785; tombstone)

Several tombstones and altars were found in the area to the south of the fort, some of which provide evidence for the existence of a civilian settlement or vicus wherein lived the close relatives of the garrison.

D C M TITTIVS M... VIXIT ANNIS PLVS MINVS XXXII M...FRATER TITVLVM POSVIT

"Dedicated to Marcus Tittius, (son) of Marcus [...], who lived for thirty-two years or thereabouts, Marcus [...] his brother, erected this memorial."

(RIB 787; tombstone; translation uncertain)

Milestone Found at Confluence of Lowther and Eamont, SW of Fort

IMP C VΛL CONSTANTINO PIENT ΛVG

"For Imperator Caesar Valerius Constantinus,¹ the most faithful Augustus."

(RIB 2285; red-sandstone milestone; 1602; dated 307-337AD)

  1. The emperor Constantine, son of Constantius I, was proclaimed Caesar in 306AD and became Augustus in July the following year. This emperor became a Christian himself in 312 and made Christianity the official Roman religion in 324, at the same time forbidding all pagan sacrifice. He died of illness near Nicomedia in May 337 and was buried at Constantinople.

Probable Fortlet at Lightwater Bridge

Sited upon an old river scarp on the south bank of the Eamont only 1,300 feet (c.395m) from the Brocavum fort but better situated to observe long stretches of the river, a rectangular ditched enclosure with rounded corner-angles measuring 200 feet by at least 120 feet (c.60 x 36+ m) and covering an area of about ½ acre (c.0.22 ha) has been identified as a Roman fortlet (St. Joseph, 1961).

If this small site east-north-east of the main fort indeed proves to be a fortlet, it is very unlikely that the two were occupied at the same time, and although it is probable, due to its superior position, that the fortlet post-dates the fort, this supposition cannot be proved without further investigation.

Other Roman Finds in the Area

Two Inscribed Stones from South Porch of Cliburn Church, Cumbria
4 miles SE of Braugham, 3 miles SW of Kirkby Thore
origin unknown, probably Brougham

...AR ...SS ...VG ...ES ...RIVS ...INVS ...DEDIT

(RIB 790; left-hand part of red sandstone altar; found 1886 with #791; in situ; text restored)

BALNEVM... ...VETERI OPERE EXVSTO IN RVIN DILABSVM... PILIS PETR CELLAS OMNES RENOVATIS CANALIBVS ET FISTVLIS... ...S...

"The bath-house [...] operation exhausted due to old age and in a state of collapse [...] stone (hypocaust) pillars in all rooms, renovated channels and pipes [...]"

(RIB 791; top-right corner of red sandstone slab; found 1886 with #790; in situ; text restored)

Inscribed Stone Found During Construction of Lancaster-Carlisle Railway at Clifton, Westmorland
origin unknown, probably Brougham

I O M • GENIO LOCI SVVBR APOLLINARIS PRINCEP C I V...

To Jupiter Best and Greatest and the Guardian Spirit of this place, Suubr[ius?] Apollinaris, Princeps of the First Cohort of V[...]¹

(RIB 792; altarstone; found 1846; private collection, St. Albans)

  1. This unit may be Coh I Vangionum, or less likely, Cohors Primae [Fida] Vardullorum, both of which are attested elsewhere in northern Britain until at least the mid-3rd Century, and are placed in Britain on military diplomata from the late-1st to the mid-2nd Century. Both of these units nominally contain one-thousand men.
See: Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (Thames & Hudson, London, 1995);
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) pp.52-65;
All translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.