NGRef: SJ8397
OSMap: LR109
Type: Minor Settlement, Fort
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Reconstruction of the Mamucium fort
and its associated vicus settlement
Drawing by David Swarbrick
contact: david@media12.co.uk
Roads
SE (21) to Aqvae Arnemetiae
NNW (26) to Bremetenacvm (Ribchester, Lancashire)
SE (21) to Bvxton (Buxton, Derbyshire)
Itinera II et X: SW (20) to Condate (Northwich, Cheshire)
NNE (37) to Ilkley (Ilkley, West Yorkshire)
ENE (12) to Rigodvnvm (Castleshaw, Saddleworth, Greater Manchester)
Iter X: WNW (16) to Coccivm (Wigan, Lancashire)
E (13) to Melandra Castle (Melandra Castle, Longworth, Derbyshire)
Possible road: WSW (15) to Wilderspool (Cheshire)
SW (20) to Nantwich

There are known to be two forts at Manchester of Flavian Date, and samian ware of the Trajanic, Hadrianic and Antonine periods attest continued occupation during these times. The barracks were burned around 196/7AD, and new floors were laid and the fort defences rebuilt soon afterwards by Severus. The later archaeological record includes late-fourth century pottery and coins dated to 301-306 and 367, the latest being of Gratian (367-383). The vicus attached to the fort developed here into a small settlement at the conjunction of several roads and trackways.

Manchester is not listed among the nine Brigantian towns mentioned by Ptolemy, and first appears in two - out of fifteen - of the British military routes detailed in the Antonine Itinerary of the late second century. The Second Itinerary, entitled "the route from the entrenchments to the port of Rutupiae", is the longest in the British section and details the 37 Roman road-stations along the 501 mile route between Blatobulgium (Birrens in Dumfries & Galloway) 24 miles beyond Hadrian's Wall ("the entrenchments") all the way to Rutupiae in Cantium (Richborough in Kent), where the Roman visitor would board a galley headed for one of the nearby ports in Gaul. About a third of the way along the items listed in Iter II there occurs a station named Mamucium, located some 18 miles from Cambodunum (Slack, South Yorkshire) and 18 miles from Condate (Northwich, Cheshire).

Manchester also appears towards the end of the Tenth Itinerary, "the route from Glannoventa to Mediolanum", which details the stations between the fort at Ravenglass in Cumbria and the market town of Whitchurch in Shropshire. In Iter X the name appears as Mancunium, this time listed some 17 miles from Coccium (Wigan, Lancashire) and again 18 miles from Condate/Northwich, beyond which the Tenth Itinerary terminated at Mediolanum/Whitchurch after a further 19 miles.

The Roman name for Manchester next appears in the Ravenna Cosmology of the seventh century, this time as Mantio (R&C#109), between the entries for Ardotalia (Melandra Castle, Derbyshire) and Alavana (Watercrook, Lancashire).

Epigraphic evidence from Mamucium

There are seven inscriptions on stone listed in the R.I.B. for Manchester, all of which are connected with the military. There are two altarstones, one dedicated to Fortuna the goddess of good luck and another altar to an unknown deity. The other five stones are "centurial" or "cohort" stones which record building work done by the various auxiliary units who used to garrison the Mamucium Castellum. Unfortunately none of these stones can be accurately dated.

Legio Sextae Victrix - The Sixth Victorious Legion

FORTVNAE CONSERVATRICI L SENECIANIVS MARTIVS > LEG VI VICT

"To Fortune the Preserver, Lucius Senecianus Martius, centurion of the Sixth Legion Victrix [donates this]."

(RIB 575; altarstone)

Vexillatio Raetorum et Noricorum - The Detachment from Raetia and Noricum

...RIC PRAEPOSITVS VEXIL RAETOR ET NORICOR V S L L M

"[...]ric, Commander of the Detachment of Raetians and Noricans, gladly, willingly and deservedly fulfills his vow."

(RIB 576; altarstone)

Cohors Primae Frisiavonum - The First Cohort of Frisiavones

Inscription Togo-Translation RIB
COHO I FRISIAV > MASAVONIS P XXIII

"The First Cohort of Frisiavones, century of Masavonius [built] twenty-three feet [of rampart?]."

577
COHR I FRISIAVO QVINTIANI P XXIIII

"The First Cohort of Frisiavones, [century of] Quintinianus [built] twenty-four feet."

578
> CVDRENI CHOR I FRISIAV P

"The century of Cudrenus, from the First Cohort of Frisiavones, [built several] feet."

579
> CANDIDI PEDES XX IIII

"The century of Candidus, twenty-four feet."

580ยน
  1. It is assumed that RIB 580 should also be assigned to Coh I Frisiavonum although the unit is not mentioned.

Cohors Primae Baetasiorum - The First Cohort of Baetasii

...I... ...ANTONINVS AVG COH I BAETASIORVM

"[...] (the emperor) Antoninus Augustus, the First Cohort of Baetasii."

(RIB 581)

Cohors Tertiae Bracaraugustanorum - The Third Cohort from Bracara Augusta

COH III BR[...]

"[Property of] the Third Bracaraugustan Cohort."

(Burn 30a; broken tile)

This auxiliary regiment is evidenced by a roofing tile bearing their stamp. They were recruited from among the peregrine citizens of a town in the Roman province of Lusitania, now known as Braga in northern Portugal. The regiment is also recorded on tiles recovered from the fort at Castleshaw (Burn 30b).

Numismatic Evidence from Manchester

The Roman coinage data from Manchester comes from a number of sources: 18 from the excavations of 1907 conducted by Bruton, 36 from the Deansgate excavations of 1972, another 39 - including 8 illegible copper coins - from various excavations conducted since 1977, also a further 222 coins from no less than thirteen hoards or private collections, although some of these may be of dubious provenance. The coins recovered by excavation span from two republican silver issues (pre 44BC) to a copper of Valentinian (Imp. 364-375AD).

See: The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
The Romans in Britain An Anthology of Inscriptions by A.R. Burn (Oxford 1969) p.25;
Roman Coins from North-West England by David Shotter (Lancaster 1990) pp.20-29.
All translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.