NGRef: NS6574
OSMap: LR64
Type: Antonine Wall Fort, Antonine Wall Fort, Fort

Roads
Antonine Wall: E (1.75) to Avchendavy (Strathclyde)
Antonine Wall: W (1) to Glasgow Bridge (Strathclyde)

The Fort at the End of the Ridge?

The Antonine fort at Kirkintilloch was built on a hill overlooking from the south-west the confluence of a minor brook with the River Kelvin. The fort now lies just south of the A803 roundabout, west of the town centre, beneath the modern streets of Kirkintilloch. It has undergone only minor exploration during the years 1953-79 and minor excavations in 1988/9. The area covered by the fort is possibly around 3½ acres (1.4 ha).

The only pieces of dateable pottery are sherds of Form 33 decorated ware stamped by the Antonine potter Malliacus. There have been seven coins recovered from the Kirkintilloch site; single issues of the emperors Galba, Titus, Domitian, Antoninus Pius, Commodus, Constantine I and Justinian I. MacDonald speculated that the modern name 'Kirkintilloch' is an Anglicisation evolved from the Cymric/British name Cair Pentaloch or 'the fort at the end of the ridge', mentioned in a document dating around AD910.

Legio Vicesimae Valeria Victrix - The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious

LEG XX V V FEC • M P III P IIICCCIV

"The Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, have made • three miles, three-thousand three-hundred and four feet [of the rampart wall]."

(RIB 2184; sculpted slab)

There are two inscriptions on stone from the Kirkintilloch area in the R.I.B., but none from the fort itself. Both inscriptions record work done on the Antonine wall, but were produced by two different legions. The first was a buff-gritstone ansate tablet found in 1740 near Inchbelly Bridge, 1 mile north-east of the fort, dedicated by the Sixth Legion, who were normally stationed at York (RIB 2185 infra), and a sculpted slab found in 1789 in the Antonine Wall ditch on Eastermains Farm, 1 mile east of the fort, was dedicated by the Twentieth from Chester (RIB 2184 supra). Both stones now reside in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

Legio Sextae Victrix Pia Fidelis - The Sixth Legion, Loyal and Faithful

IMP CAESARI T AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P VEXILLA LEG VI VIC P F PER M P ...

"For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Pater Patriae, a vexillation of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Pia Fidelis, for [...]¹ thousand paces."

(RIB 2185; buff-gritstone ansate tablet; dated 139-161AD)

  1. The mileage figure had apparently been left blank.
See: The Roman Wall in Scotland by Sir George MacDonald (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1934) pp.289-296 ;
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
Chronology of the Ancient World by E.J. Bickerman (Thames & Hudson, London, 1980);
Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (Thames & Hudson, London, 1995);
A Survey of the Coin Finds from the Antonine Wall by Richard Abdy in Britannia xxxiii (2002) pp.189-217;
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.