Derventio (Malton) Fort

Fort, Minor Settlement and Vexillation Fort

By the year 69AD a legionary base half the normal size had been built at Malton on the northern borders of the Parisi. This tribe occupied the Oceli Promunturium in north Humberside and are thought to have offered little or no resistance to the Roman advance through the area, which was made in order to outflank the truculent and troublesome Brigante tribe to the east. This so-called ‘vexillation fortress’ was temporarily occupied by a ‘flag section’ or vexillatio of Legio XIV Gemina before their withdrawal to the continent in 70.

Classical Evidence for the Fort at Malton

The Roman name for the Malton military complex first appears in the Antonine Itinerary of the late-second century, where in Iter I “from the frontier at the Vallum [Hadriani] all the way to Praetorium“, which describes the route from Hadrian’s Wall to a lost Romano-British port near Bridlington in Humberside, the entry Derventione, is listed 7 miles from Eburacum (York, North Yorkshire) and 13 miles from Delgovicia (nr. Millington, Humberside).

You will be right in thinking that the reported distance of only 7 miles between York and Malton is in error, either that or the identification of Derventio with the Malton complex. It is thought, however (q.v. Margary), that the roman numeral X has been dropped from the York-Malton distance quoted in the First Itinerary, and was transposed further down the list by an unknown scribe at some time in the distant past, thus making the distance between Millington and the terminus station at Bridlington 10 miles too long.

In addition, the Notitia Dignitatum of the 4th/5th centuries lists Deruentione as the last auxiliary garrison “at the disposal of the Right Honourable Duke of the Britains”, following the entry for Longovicium (Lanchester, Durham).

The Epigraphy of Roman Malton

There are ten inscriptions on stone recorded in the R.I.B. for Malton, including a statue or altar base dedicated to the god Mars (RIB 711), a dedicatory inscription to the Guardian Spirit of a Goldsmith’s shop (RIB 712), the tombstone of a cavalry trooper (RIB 714) and a dedicatory inscription by the prefect of an auxiliary cavalry regiment (RIB 719a).

RIB718 - Building inscription of Sanqus

SANQV[...]
Sanqus (built this).
For the replacement of c by q see Dagus in CIL vi 3236 (ILS 2204) and ILS index p. 831.

The Derventio Garrison Unit(s)

RIB714 - Funerary inscription for Aurelius Macrinus

D M
AVR MA
CRINVS EX
EQ SING V
[...]
To the spirits of the departed: Aurelius Macrinus, formerly trooper ... singularis consularis ..., lived ...
No commentary. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): The ala Picentiana is now attested at Malton (Brit. ii (1971), 291 No. 9).
Praefectus numeri superuenientium Petueriensium, Deruentione

“The prefect of the Company of Newcomers from Petuaria at Derventio

(Notitia Dignitatum xl.31; 4th/5th C.)

The last entry in the list of forces “at the disposal of the Right Honourable Duke of the Britains” mentions an irregular numerus who originally hailed from the town of Petuaria (Brough-on-Humber, Humberside), and may have been recruited from among the British Parisi tribe.

Other Roman Sites in the Neighbourhood

Aside from the fort, probable fortress and minor settlement at Malton itself (SE7971), there is a substantial Roman building at Roughborough (SE7670), and Roman potteries nearby at Norton (SE7970) about 1½ miles to the south, and on the River Derwent 5 miles upstream at Crambeck (SE7367). There is a Romano-British villa at Langton (SE8167) about 3 miles to the south. About 7 miles to the west of the Malton fort and settlement there is a temporary marching camp at Wath (SE6774) nearby a villa (SE6675) and Romano-British barrow (SE6775) at Hovingham, and another villa at Pond Head (SE5674) a further 7 miles west, all these sites lying on the line of the road west out of Malton, the latter villa within sight of the main north-south road between Newcastle and York. The newly-discovered camp at buttercrambe Moor lies a short way further along this road.

References for Derventio (brigantvm)

  • Britannia ii (1971) pp.252/3, 291, 302/3; Britannia i (1970) p.280;
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).

Roman Roads near Derventio (brigantvm)

Itinera I?/II/V: SSW (12) to Bvttercrambe Moor (nr. Stamford Bridge, North Yorkshire) Probable road: N (12) to Cawthorn ESE (23) to Praesidivm (Bridlington, Humberside) Possible road: W (25) to Isvrivm (Aldborough, North Yorkshire) Itinera I/II/V: SW (17) to Ebvracvm S (31) to Petvaria (Brough-on-Humber, Humberside) WNW (7) to Hovingham Margary#80a: N (72) to Old Dvrham Iter I: S (12) to Delgovicia (nr. Millington, Humberside)