Derventio (Papcastle) Vicus

Roman Settlement

As is usual, a civilian settlement or vicus developed, on the south facing slope towards the river.  The fort stood at the junction of major Roman routes from Carlisle, Maryport, Moresby-Ravenglass and Keswick.  There must have been a river crossing, but more than likely the Derwent has changed its course during nearly two thousand years, so no trace of it has been found.

Litereary References to Derventio (Papcastle)

Various antiquarians have recorded visible remains; Camden (1586 to 1594) called Papcastle “the carcase of an ancient fort” and in 1610, recorded that the font, now in Bridekirk church, had been discovered here. Gale in 1709,
identified the fort as Derventio, correcting earlier misidentifications. Stukeley, in 1725 gave a very detailed account. The latest description of any value was that of Askew in c.1864 who wrote:

The village of Papcastle occupies the site where once stood the Roman City of Derventio, for a period of at least two hundred years. Coins, altars, buried grain, and earthen vessels are still frequently found in the gardens and fields. […] On the high ground above the village there was a strong castrum or Roman castle, up to which there are still some faint traces of streets. The Romans did nothing on a small scale – their walls and edifices nearly always approached the stupendous, so that we have every reason to conclude that Derventio was no mean city. In excavating for the foundations of Derwent Lodge, the workmen opened out a fine Roman well, and turned up a quantity of burned grain, together with some coins. Sibey Brows is one of the earliest and richest pastures in the neighbourhood.