The first fort at Chesterfield laid out about AD 54-55, and possibly of the standard rectangular plan oriented north – south, was sited on the 300ft. O.D. contour of the spur. A second phase is represented by a curving ditch added to the south-east corner, and by two groups of internal timber structures. A large ditch to the south of these features may be identified as an annexe. Pottery evidence demonstrates demolition of this feature around AD 80 with perhaps a caretaker garrison in occupation thereafter. The south defences of this fort were located in Church Lane and the south east angle at Station Road. The defences of this fort comprised a ditch, intervallum road and clay rampart.

Around AD 80-100, the fort original fort was dismantled and another smaller one built with an eastern entrance on the Station Road (1975) site and the south-east corner lying just north of the present road junction of Spa Lane and Station Road. Topographical indications suggest a size of circa 2.8 hectares (7 acres).  The final phase of occupation of the fort is marked by a number of ovens and furnaces connected with metal-working. The eastern defences, located on the west side of Station Road, consisted of a clay and turf rampart, 7.5m wide, and a ditch, 3.0m wide. During a second phase, there was a six-post gateway here. Only the ditch of a third phase was found. An annexe to the first fort ran west – east downhill from the south east corner towards the river Rother. The fort was abandoned around AD 140 and does not appear to have been re-occupied by a military garrison.

At the Swan Yard site, remains of timber buildings within the fort were found. These were in four phases, the first circa 70-80 AD; the latest pottery found was of 120-130 AD. These buildings, and the defences, were succeeded by an occupation phase of iron-working furnaces about 130 AD and no evidence was found of any occupation, civil or military, after the second century.

Chesterfield is a possibe siting of  “Lvtvdarvm”.

Excavations 1974-77

The excavations were carried out by North Derbyshire Archaeological Society in 1974-7 at sites in Church Lane (SK 384711), Swan Yard (SK 386712) and Spa Lane/Station Road (SK 386711).

The Name Chesterfield

“The name Castra-feld which the Romans gave to this place, meant literally “˜standing walls in a field’. This suggests that when the Romans first arrived here they found pre-existing standing stone-built walls. Subsequent archeology has failed to find any trace of them, so what did the Romans see, either in or near this place, that caused them to name it thus”?

References for Chesterfield

Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);

NGRef: SK3871 OSMap: LR119

Roman Roads near Chesterfield

N (13) to Templeborovgh (South Yorkshire) S (11) to Pentrich (Nottinghamshire)

Sites near Chesterfield