Milton (Tassiesholm) Forts

Fort, Fortlet and Marching or Temporary Camps

A large Roman fort was discovered by Aerial photography about three miles south of Moffat in Dumfries & Galloway. Lying astride one of the main Roman military highways north, which formed the main axis of the encampment, fieldwork conducted on the site has revealed at least two, possibly three phases of occupation during the first century, the first of which was established by governor Agricola sometime during 80/81AD.

The Milton Fortlet

The fortlet at Milton was rectangular in plan, measuring 130 x 75 feet (c.39.6 x 22.8m) 902m², and possibly housed two small barrack-blocks each about 90 x 21 feet (c.27 x 6.4m). The only dateable pottery is a piece of Form 18 decorated ware stamped by the Flavian-Trajanic potter Germanus.

Milton 2 Temporary Camp

Discovered during excavations by Clarke, this putative camp took the form of a line of ditch located beneath the intervallum road of the fort, purportedly displaying an inverted clavicula at its terminal. Otherwise unsubstantiated.

Excavations

The fort was excavated between 1938 and 1950 by J. Clarke

Other Roman Sites

There are several Roman military installations clustered around the village; four temporary camps and a fortlet lie to the north at Beattock (NT0802), while to the south there are another two marching camps and a fortlet at Tassiesholm (NT0901).

Naming the site Milton / Tassiesholm

The site has had a number of names over the years. When discovered by Roy in 1793 he referred to it as Tassiesholm – on the 1855 OSM map the low ridge the fort sat on was called ‘Tassies Height’. It has subsequantly been named after the nearby village of Milton.

References for Tassiesholm (Milton) Forts

  • The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
  • The Roman Fortlet at Barburgh Mill, Dumfriesshire by David J. Breeze in Britannia v (1974) p.152 table.V.
  • Roy, W. (1793) The military antiquities of the Romans in Britain. London. Page(s): pl. viii RCAHMS Shelf Number: A.2.L.R

Roman Roads near Tassiesholm (Milton) Forts

NW (20) to Crawford (Strathclyde) S (14) to Ladyward (Dumfries & Galloway) Possible Military Road: NE (17) to Oakwood (Borders)