Catterick (Cataractonium) Roman Fort

Flavian Auxiliary Fort (AD 69–96)

The Roman fort at Catterick was likely founded during the early A.D. 70’s, when governor Quintus Petillius Cerialis dealt with the recently revolutionary faction of the Brigantes led by Venutius, the estranged husband of the ageing Brigantian queen Cartimandua. At the very latest, the fort must have been in place by 79, in order to guard the northern supply route of Agricola’s Scottish campaigns. After an undetermined period of neglect, it would appear that the fort was recommissioned during the administration of Gnaeus Julius Verus in the aftermath of the Brigantian revolt of A.D. 155, at which time the The Antonine Wall – completed a mere thirteen years previously – was abandoned and the troops pulled back to Hadrian’s Wall in order to contain the unruly Brigantes.

… The land rises at the west end of the site to a platform of high ground near Thornbrough farm … It is unlikely that the crossing of the Swale by a Roman trunk-road would be left unguarded, but excavation alone can reveal whether this 4½-acre platform was the site of an early fort. This conjecture receives support from the street-plan just described, from which it is clear that Leeming Lane came before the town. The east to west street and the south wall are parallel, but at a little distance west of Leeming Lane this street bends northwards in a course that would bring it along the centre of the platform by Thornbrough farm. …” (J.R.S., 1953, p.90)

The Garrison Units of Catterick Fort

Although no unit has been positively identified at Catterick, undated tiles found at Bainesse nearby, stamped BSAR (RIB 2479), have been tentatively identified with the above-named unit, which were known to have been stationed at Bremetenacvm (Ribchester, Lancashire; RIB 583; 238-44AD) in the mid-third century.

Map References for Catterick Fort

OS National Grid Reference: SE225992
Dimensions: c.440 x 440 ft? (c.135 x 135 m?)
Area: c.4½ acres (c.1.8 ha)

References for Catterick Fort

  • Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford 1998);
  • Temples in Roman Britain by M.J.T. Lewis (Cambridge 1966);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
  • Air Reconnaissance of Southern Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xliii (1953) pp.81-97;
Sites near Catterick (Cataractonium) Roman Fort