NGRef: SO2493
OSMap: LR137
Type: Fort, Camp
Probable Tactical Road: NW (4) to Forden Gaer (Forden Gaer, Powys)
Tactical Road: SE (13) to Stretford Bridge (Shropshire)

The Pentreheyling Fort

SO245931 c.590 x 490 ft
(c.180 x 150 m)
c.6¾ acres
(c.2.68 ha)

The Roman fort at Pentreheyling near Brompton in Shropshire stands at the conflux of the Rivers Camlad and the Caebitra, which are both tributaries of the Severn. Judging from its closeness to the later fort at Forden Gaer, the Brompton fort can probably be attributed to the early campaigns of the governor Publius Ostorius Scapula sometime around 47/48AD, and possibly fell into disuse after only a short occupation.

The fort measures around 590 feet from ENE to WSW, by about 510 feet transversely (c.180 x 150 metres), and thus encloses an area of almost 6¾ acres (c.2.68 ha). This is enough space to house an ala quingenaria, a five-hundred strong auxiliary cavalry regiment, or perhaps a cohors peditata milliaria an auxiliary infantry cohort of a nominal one-thousand soldiers, perhaps evan a couple of legionary infantry cohorts; there have been no recorded finds which shed any light on this area.

The Brompton Temporary Marching Camps

There are at least two temporary camps lying close by to the east of the Brompton fort, which may possibly be attributed to the same period, perhaps preceeding the fort by a few months or so. Another undated but probably contemporary marching camp lies about five miles to the south-west at Glanmiheli in Powys (SO1590).

Brompton Camp 1, Shropshire
SO249934 c.1,310 x 1,280 ft
(c.400 x 390 m)
c.38 acres
(c.15.5 ha)
Only the northern defences of this camp are fully traced, measuring about 1,280 feet (c.390m), the western half visible as crop-marks on aerial photographs, the eastern half preserved as a modern field-boundary. The two northern angles are known and are both slightly obtuse, adjoining which are a short length of the eastern defences and a longer section of the western defences, respectively 620 & 1,280 feet (c.190 & 390m) in length. It would appear that the modern A489 road, which runs between the camp and Brompton Motte closely following along the edge of a natural break in slope, perhaps marks the southern boundary of the camp. In support of this, no evidence of a continuation of the western or eastern defences south of the road is seen on A.P.'s, and if, as seems likely, the Roman engineers used this slight break in the natural slope to delimit the southern defences, the camp would have formed a squat trapezium, almost square, which could have easily housed half a legion and several auxiliary regiments; perhaps totalling 4,000+ soldiers.
Brompton Camp 2, Shropshire
SO249933 c.755 x 740 ft
(c.230 x 225 m)
c.13 acres
(c.5.2 ha)
This smaller camp lies wholly within the perimeter of Camp-1. The entire northern defences may be traced, around 755 feet (230m) in length, along with part of the north-east corner angle which appears slightly obtuse, the complete and slightly acute north-west angle and about 740 feet (225m) of the west side. If we assume that the A489 road again obscures the southern defences then this camp would have delineated a parallelogram, again almost square, enclosing an area sufficient for perhaps 3 or 4 cohorts, between about 1,500 to 2,000 men.
See: Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1965-1968 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lix (1969) pp.119/20;
Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxiii (1973) p.235 & fig.19;
Roman Camps in England - The Field Archaeology by the R.C.H.M.E.
Page Citation: Kevan White (2018) "Roman Britain: BROMPTON"