Trent Vale Fort

Fort, Industry and Pottery Kiln

During the period 1929-1935, a number of pits containing Roman material were uncovered during marl-digging. The finds included coarse and samian pottery of mid-late first century; coins of Augustus, Claudius, Nero and others; parts of a bronze bowl and a beam balance; and several fibulae (@ SJ 868432)

Excavations conducted between 1955-7 revealed traces of a timber building, and a well-preserved up draught pottery kiln, still loaded with 8 rough cast globular cooking pots and lids. Quantities of mid-late first century pottery were found (@ SJ 8676 4309). In 1958 more evidence of timber buildings was found, together with first century samian and military metalwork.

In 1970 a pair of ditches each about 3½ feet (1m) deep, with a typical Roman military V-profile were discovered during levelling operations for a factory unit 1¼ miles (2km) SSW of the City centre. These ditches are thought to represent the south-eastern defences of a Roman fort on the east bank of the River Trent. This camp was presumably the first in the area.

The numerous pre-Flavian finds from this area in the 1930s suggested that it had been the site of a large Roman military installation. This hypothesis is supported by these ditches and the previous finding of an early-Neronian pottery kiln. A normal auxiliary fort could have been placed on the southern edge of the hill; but if the whole of the hill was utilised, this would allow for a site up to 30 acres in area.

Other Roman Finds in the Trent Vale

In c.1810, a small bronze figurine was found at Goldenhill Rectory. A possible Roman kiln was reported at Burslem in 1865. A handled beaker, of Roman design was uncovered in Lightwood in 1930 (@ SJ 924415). In 1960 near the Lightwood Road in Longton, a hoard of 2,485 antoniniani, and 2 silver bracelets was found in an urn. Date range from Valerian to Probus (@ SJ 925410). Roman pottery was found in the bank of a stream at Bucknall in 1961 (@ SJ 9007 4689). The lower stone of a rotary quern was found at Meir (SJ 923423). At Campbell Square in Stoke, the remains of a cobbled surface were found on the line of the road from Chesterton to Littlechester/Derventio (SJ 8765 4523).

References for Trent Vale

  • The North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies, Volume 4, ‘An Archaeological Gazetteer of Staffordshire’;
  • Britannia ii (1971) pp.259/60 & fig.7
  • Britannia I (1970) p.190.

Map References for Trent Vale

NGRef: SJ868433 OSMap: LR118

Roman Roads near Trent Vale

None identified