NGRef: NY3827
OSMap: LR90
Type: Fort, Fortlet, Camp
NE (10) to Voreda (Old Penrith, Cumbria)

The Roman Military at Troutbeck

A series of two forts and three temporary marching camps lie on the north bank of the Trout Beck in Cumbria. Although the exact date and relative chronology of the encampments in this complex is unproved, the resemblance between the Troutbeck I Fort and Marching Camp 2, and the similarly-sized Flavian encampments at Oakwood in Borders Region may mean that the two were contemporary, which would imply a Flavian foundation date for Troutbeck Fort I and Camp 2. Both Camp 1 and Camp 2 are aseemingly aligned on the summit of Great Mell Fell, a 1,7662ft (537m) outcrop of Cambrian rock, the summit of which lies about 1½ miles (2.5 km) to the south-east of the complex.

The Fort & Fortlet

Site Name N.G.Ref Size Remarks
Troutbeck I NY3827 3¾ acres
(1.5 ha)
Flavian? Fort, square in outline, each side measuring roughly 390ft (c.120m) long with an inturned entrance in the centre.
Troutbeck II NY3827 1¾ acres
(0.7 ha)
Later Fortlet in SE corner of original Fort using most of the original E defences, the SE corner-angle and half of the S side, with entrances in centre of long sides only.

The Marching Camps

Troutbeck 1, Cumbria
NY379273 673 x 732 ft
(205 x 223 m)
10 acres
(4 ha)
marching camp lying just 100 metres from the NW corner of the fort, has four entrances protected by internal claviculae, those in the NW and SE sides being centrally located, while those in the longer NE and SW sides are displaced towards the SE indicating that the camp was aligned to face a threat from this direction.
Troutbeck 2, Cumbria
NY389276 c.1,230 x c.1,440 ft
(c.375 x c.440 m)
30 acres
(9.7 ha)
A large Flavian? Marching Camp lies over 500 metres from the fort to the ENE occupying the flat summit of Lofshaw Hill, with four entrances all with external claviculae and internal clavicuar defences to N and S. The entrances on the longer E and W sides are off-set towards the S, indicating that the camp faced in this direction.
Troutbeck 3, Cumbria
NY383273 345 ft²
(105 m²)
1½ acres
(0.6 ha)
Small squarish marching camp lying some 85 metres from the north-east side of the fort. There are two entrances, each with double-clavicular defences, positioned in the W and S sides. The defences have been augmented by an additional rampart, which has led to this camp sometimes being classified as a small fort or fortlet, however, there is nothing to indicate that these defences were anything but temporary, housing troops in field conditions under leather.

The Roman Road through the Area

The Roman road passes through the Troutbeck complex from east to west, encountering Camp 2 first, passing close by its southern defences. No inference can be drawn from the position of either, but it is very likely that the camp pre-dates the road, probably by many years. The road then curves sinuously between Camp 3 and the Fort, passing to the south of the former and north of the latter, probably indicating that these two encampments were contemporary, and that the road post-dates both of them. The Roman road then passed diagonally across the southern half of Camp 1, which proves that this camp pre-dates the road.

The Modern By-Pass

The old A66 originally cut through the centre of the Troutbeck complex, roughly following the course of the old Roman road, cutting across the northern half of the Period I fort and obliterating the north-west corner of the Period II fortlet, proceeding through the southern corner of Camp 1 and partly destroying its south-west gate. When this road was widened in 1974 the new carriageway was purposely diverted to the south of the entire complex, thus preserving whatever archaeology remains.

See: Roman Camps in England - The Field Archaeology by the R.C.H.M.E.;
The Carvetii by Nicholas Higham and Barri Jones (Sutton, London, 1985)
Page Citation: Kevan White (2018) "Roman Britain: TROUTBECK"