The location of Cheney Longville, Stretford Bridge Fort was an important strategic position at the junction of several ancient trackways. One of these roads, known as the Hen Ffordd or the Old Road, linked Forden Gaer with the military complex at Greensforge, closely following the route of an older, native trackway which linked a number of hillforts in the area and was possibly utilized as an early-Roman supply route into the Welsh Marches.
The fort measures 515 feet from north-west to south-east by 320 feet transversely (c.157 x 97 m), enclosing an area of 3¾ acres (c.1.5 ha). It may have been established as the winter quarters of the force which occupied the nearby temporary camp at Craven Ams, possibly sometime during the winter of 48/49AD during the administration of governor Publius Ostorius Scapula. This fort (and camp) is large enough to have easily housed a cohors quingenaria, a five-hundred strong auxiliary infantry regiment, possibly even a similar-sized mixed unit of cavalry and infantry known as a cohors equitata.
The defences of the Roman fort were finally used by the Normans whose Motte (castle mound) now dominates the site, and where the foundations of their cathedral can still be seen.
Other Roman Sites in the Area
There are several Roman marching camps in the immediate area; two at Stretford Bridge & Craven Arms (SO4284/SO4383), one more at Upper Affcot (SO4486) nearby, also another one about five miles along the line of the tactical road to the south-east at Bromfield (SO4877). There is a Romano-British villa about four miles to the north of Craven Arms along the Watling Street at Acton Scott (SO4589).
References for Stretford Bridge
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxiii (1973) p.235;
- Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001);
- Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);
Map References for Stretford Bridge
NGRef: SO4284 OSMap: LR137
Roman Roads near Stretford Bridge
SSE (18) to Blackwardine (Hereford & Worcester) Watling Street West: S (6) to Bravonivm (Leintwardine, Hereford & Worcester) Tactical Road: NW (13) to Brompton (Shropshire) Watling Street West (Iter XII): NNE (19) to Viroconivm