NGRef: SO6978
OSMap: LR138
Type: Fort

None identified

The Cleobury Mortimer Roman Fort

SO692783 c.440 x 440ft
(c.134 x 134 m)
c.4½ acres
(c.1.8 ha)

The Wall Town Roman fort is sited in a small valley about a mile to the east of the River Rea, a tributary of the Teme, some 1½ miles north-east of the crossing of the Rea at Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. The defences are clearly aligned on the hillfort at Titterstone Clee, which lies some 6 miles to the west. The B4313 minor road enters the visible defences of the fort from the east, passing through the porta decumana and along the via decumana down the dorsal axis of the camp for almost two thirds of its length before turning obliquely through the south western corner of the defences and proceeding on its way towards the Rea crossing at Cleobury. Listed in the V.C.H. as a 'simple defensive enclosure' of some 4½ acres (1.8ha) - a typical size for a Roman auxiliary fort - and despite finding roof and hypocaust tiles together with Roman pottery during road-widening in 1929, the site was only identified as a Roman fort during observations from the air by Professor St. Joseph in 1953. The visible defences were sectioned in 1960 and 1961 and were found to have been built upon a clay floor and demolition material which indicated a previous occupation. The forts defences were fronted by a stone revetment sometime in the second century. Evidence of an earlier (smaller?) enclosure were also found lying beneath the north side of the later fort, and the earliest pottery finds were of Neronian/early-Flavian samian ware (JRS 1953 p.85).

This site has been interpreted as a Neronian fortlet, perhaps attributed to the campaigns of governor Quintus Veranius, which was supplanted by a larger fort in the Flavian period, perhaps during the initial consolidation of governor Gaius Julius Agricola prior to his march upon Anglesey and his campaigns into Scotland (Webster p.81).

This Roman military site lies far from any known Roman roads, and indeed, none are inferred in the area aside from Webster's Route 44: Greensforge to Leintwardine. This remoteness in itself suggests that the original site was not long occupied before being found surplus to requirements and decommissioned, prior to the road network in the Welsh Marches becoming established (Webster fig.22 p.62; Margary fig.2 p.48).

See: Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);
Roman Roads in Britain : Volume II North of the Foss Way - Bristol Channel by Ivan D. Margary (London 1957);
Air Reconnaissance of Southern Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xliii (1953) pp.81-97;
Historical Map and Guide - Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001);