NGRef: NX596574
OSMap: LR83
Type: Fortlet

Roads
Possible Coastal Route: NW (18) to Newton Stewart (Dumfries & Galloway)
Probable Military Road: NE (11) to Lovcovivm (Glenlochar, Dumfries & Galloway)

The Small Roman Fort at Gatehouse of Fleet

N.G.Ref Dimensions Area
NX596574 200 x 180 ft
(c.61 x 55 m)
c.¾ acre
(c.0.33 ha)

This fortlet was very likely founded during the campaigns of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola sometime around 81AD. This was a very small encampment with no administrative buildings which probably housed a garrison of a single century or about 80 men. The only dateable pottery evidence are pieces of South Gaulish samian-ware produced during the Flavian period, possibly Flavian-Trajanic.

'Ten miles south-west of Glenlochar, at Gatehouse of Fleet, is a small fort that marks the furthest Roman penetration into south-west Scotland yet established. The site, ½-mile north of the town of Gatehouse, occupies level ground above an old river scarp of the Water of Fleet. Two ditches set well apart define a rectangular area, with rounded angles, that measures about 180 by 200 ft. There seems to have been a single gate in the centre of the north-east side. No structures are visible in the interior. The fort lies too far upstream to have been connected with a harbour, and its purpose was doubtless to control this small valley, and to guard a route that continued further west, for Gatehouse can hardly be the end of the system.' (St. Joseph, 1951)

The marching camp at Glenluce about 28 miles to the west near the Rhinns of Galloway is probably contemporary, as are at least some of the camps at Glenlochar, possibly also the suspected camp at Dalbeattie, about 14 miles to the east. Traces of a Roman road have been found which crosses the Fleet about 330 yards (c.300 m) to the south of the fortlet.

See: Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) p.61;
The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
Britannia xiii (1982) p.337;
Britannia xvi (1985) p.267.
Link to maps of the area from: StreetMap Old-Maps MultiMap