Cadder Roman Fort

Antonine Wall Fort

The fort on the Antonine Wall at Cadder measured about 364 ft. from east to west by 339 ft. north-south (c.111 x 103 m) enclosing an area within the ramparts of just over 2¾ acres (c.1.14 ha). The northern defences of the fort were formed by the rampart wall of the Antonine barrier, the other three sides being enclosed by a turf rampart about 15½ ft. (c.4.7 m) wide at the base. There were two ditches on the east and the south with a single ditch on the west; the outermost ditches extended outward into clavicular defences at both the eastern and southern gateways. Although the gateway through the eastern defences was placed centrally in its side, none of the other three were, that in the southern rampart being displaced noticeably to the east, while those on the western and northern sides were displaced slightly to north and east respectively.

The fort was excavated between 1929-31, during which several coins, some 1st-century glass and sherds of samian pottery were found. There have been six coins recovered from the environs of the fort; single denarii of Galba and Trajan, 2 dupondii of Antoninus Pius and 2 copper coins of uncertain minting. The pottery recovered includes pieces stamped with the names of five Antonine potters; two of Casurius Form 31, and single examples of Cinnamus Form 37, Comprinnus Form 31, Minatio Form 33 and Peculiaris Form 31.

There were, however, two or three sherds for which an early date seemed probable, and with these may be classed a considerable portion of a Samian vessel of Form Dr. 35, which was picked up at Cadder in 1852 and whose colour and texture suggest that it is of first-century manufacture.” (MacDonald, p.312)

The samian pottery and the glass finds, if accurately dated, suggest that there was a Roman presence at Cadder at some time during the 1st century, and the only conceiveable period during which this could have been acheived were the campaigns of governor Agricola through Scotland in the early AD 80’s. The fragile nature of glass in particular makes it unlikely that these vessels had lasted on campaign from the late-1st century until the mid-140’s before being broken.

Epigraphic Evidence from the Cadder Fort

RIB 2188 - Building inscription of the Second Legion Augusta

A detachment of the Second [Legion Augusta] (built this).

[...] II

No commentary.

The R.I.B. records two Latin inscriptions on stone from the Antonine fort at Cadder in Kilsyth. One records the name of the legion who were responsible for the actual construction of the fort and its defences (vide RIB 2188 supra), while the other is an altarstone to a Latin god probaby dedicated by the commanding officer of one of the auxiliary regiments who garrisoned the fort (vide RIB 2187 infra). Also of note is an ansate slab with the right ansation broken-off found in 1604 at Bogton Farm, ½ miles east of the fort, now in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow (RIB 2186 etiam infra).

RIB 2187 - Altar dedicated to Silvanus

To the god Silvanus Lucius Tanicius Verus, prefect, gladly, willingly, and deservedly fulfilled his vow.


Haverfield suggests that this Verus may be identical with L. Tanicius Verus, centurion of leg. III Cyrenaica in Upper Egypt in A.D. 80-81 (CIL iii 34, ILS 8759b). Clarke and Birley think this doubtful and suggest that the Verus at Cadder may have been the grandson of the centurion once in Egypt R.P.W. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): 3‒5.  The surviving text confirms Camden’s reading (thus RIB). RIB states that it is ‘probably derived from Cadder’, but Keppie notes that the find-spot is much closer to Bar Hill (3 km.) than to Cadder (12 km). This accords with Camden’s ms. note, which transcribes it without specific attribution just above ‘Miniabruch’ [Kilsyth] and beside ‘Cadder’. So it should be located at Bar Hill, where there is another dedication to Silvanus (RIB 2167).

RIB 2186 - Distance Slab of the Second Legion

For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of his country, the Second Legion Augusta (built this) for a distance of 3,666½ paces.


Its provenance is only vaguely recorded. Gordon wrongly assigns it to Balmuildy. Sir George Macdonald (loc. cit.) says that ‘it must have been found on the farm at Bogton’, about 800 m. east of Cadder fort and (measured along the line of the Wall) over 4.8 km. east of the site where its counterpart RIB 2193 was found.For s(emis) see n. to RIB 2193.

References for Cadder

  • The Archaeology of Roman Britain by R.G. Collingwood (Methuen, London, 1930);
  • The Roman Wall in Scotland by Sir George MacDonald (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1934) pp.297-312;
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
  • The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
  • Britannia viii (1977) p.433 no.31;
  • Chronology of the Ancient World by E.J. Bickerman (Thames & Hudson, London, 1980);
  • Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (Thames & Hudson, London, 1995);
  • A Survey of the Coin Finds from the Antonine Wall by Richard Abdy in Britannia xxxiii (2002) pp.189-217; 

Roman Roads near Cadder

Antonine Wall: E (1.25) to Glasgow Bridge (Strathclyde) Antonine Wall: W (1.25) to Wilderness Plantation (Strathclyde)

Sites near Cadder Roman Fort