NGRef: NS4673
OSMap: LR64
Type: Antonine Wall Fort, Fort

Roads
Antonine Wall: E (2.25) to Dvntocher (Strathclyde)

The Antonine fort at Old Kilpatric measures 442 ft. from north to south by 408 ft. east-west (c.135 x 124 m) within the ramparts, giving an occupation area of just under 4¼ acres (c.1.7 ha). The western and eastern gateways are placed centrally in their sides, but the gates in the north and south sides are displaced noticeably to the west. The fort is protected by three ditches, including the ditch of the rampart wall to the west, by two ditches on the south towards the banks of the Clyde, while the eastern and northern sides were each protected by four ditches. It appears very likely that the fort here was constructed before the rampart wall.

A bath-house and annexe was discovered outside the south defences of the fort in 1790 during cutting of the Forth-Clyde canal, and the fort itself was excavated in 1923/4. It has ramparts of turf, laid in the same manner as the Antonine Wall itself. Like the fort at Bar Hill the encampment here is separated from the rampart wall and was an earlier construction.

It is possible that the Roman military presence at Old Kilpatrick was first established during the campaigns of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola sometime around 81AD, in order to act as a staging-point for sea-based operations on the west coast, many years before work on the Wall began.

The Dateable Pottery Evidence

Excavations at Old Kilpatrick have uncovered pottery sherds bearing the stamps of seven Antonine potters; Cucalus Form 27, Felicio Form 37, Gongius Form 33, Illiomarus Form 38, Illixo Forms 18/31 & 31 (2), Primulus Form 33 and Ritogenus Forms 31 & 27 (2).

The Numismatic Evidence

A total of nineteen coins have been recovered from the area of Old Kilpatrick, ranging from a sestertius of Galba found in a cellar beneath the treasury in the principia to a denarius of Lucilla, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, dated 161-9AD. Others issues include 5 Hadrianic and 4 Trajanic coins, 2 each of Vespasian and Antoninus Pius, and single examples of Domitian and Marcus Aurelius. Another 2 coins cannot be identified with certainty.

The Epigraphic Evidence

There are four inscribed stones recorded in the R.I.B. for Old Kilpatrick, one of which was re-used as the threshold of a house at Fendyke to the west of the fort and rediscovered in 1757, the stone unfortunately now lost (RIB 2207; no text recorded). The other three were discovered in the 17th century and are now stored in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; all may be dated to the period 139-161AD and are shown above. In addition, another stone unearthed in the late 1960's and reported in the Britannia Journal is expanded and translated below (Brit. 1970.20).

Panelled tablet discovered during ploughing ¾ mile east of the fort - 1695

IMP C T AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG P P VEX LEG VI VIC P F OPVS VALLI P ∞∞∞∞ C XLI

"For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus [Pius], Father of the Fatherland, a vexillation of the Sixth Victorious Legion, Loyal and Faithful, worked on four-thousand one-hundred and forty-one feet of the entrenchments."

(RIB 2205)

Top-right part of ansate tablet showing cupid in ansation found in Old Kilpatrick parish - 1695

IMP C T AE HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P VEX LEG XX V V FEC P P IIII CDXI

"For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Pater Patriae, a vexillation of the Twentieth Legion, Valiant and Victorious, have made four-thousand four-hundred and eleven feet."

(RIB 2206; text restored)

Relief from temple of Victory probably marking western terminus of the Wall at Ferrydyke - 1684

IMP C T AE HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P • VEX LEG XX V V FEC • P P IIII CDXI

"For Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country • a vexillation of the Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix made this • for four-thousand four-hundred and eleven feet."

(RIB 2208)

Cohors Primae Baetasiorum - The First Cohort of Baetasii

I O M COH I BAETASIORVM C R CVI PRAEEST PVBLICIVSMATERNVS PRAEFC A IVLIO CANDIDO > LEG I ITALICAE

"For Jupiter Best and Greatest, the First Cohort of Baetasii, Citizens of Rome, under the command of the prefect Publicius Maternus, and Aulus Julius Candidus, centurion of the First Italian Legion."

(Britannia 1970.20)

See: The Roman Wall in Scotland by Sir George MacDonald (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1934) pp.332-341;
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
Britannia i (1970), p.310, no.20;
The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
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.