Clyro Vexillation Fortress

Vexillation Fort

The Clyro vexillation fortress is situated on the north-eastern flanks of a small hill just north of Haye on Wye in Herefordshire and immediately east of Clyro Castle, on the western bank of the River Wye in Powys, just a couple of hundred yards to the west of the river which here marks the border between England and Wales. In addition to the large campaign base there is a marching camp nearby at Clyro itself (SO2243), and a Roman fort lies four miles to the north-east at Clifford (SO2446).

Clyro has been shown by Professor St Joseph to be a large well-defended site of 26 acres and a limited excavation in 1964 produced evidence of two periods. The earliest piece of samian has been dated to c.60.” (Webster, p.85)

Clyro is possibly the scene of the near annihilation of Legio XX Valeria Victrix by the Silures tribe of South Wales, described by the Roman historian Tacitus:

… A camp-prefect and some legionary cohorts, left behind to construct garrison-posts in Silurian territory, were attacked from all quarters; and, if relief had not quickly reached the invested troops from the neighbouring forts – they had been informed by messenger – they must have perished to the last man. As it was, the prefect fell, with eight centurions and the boldest members of the rank and file. …” (Tacitus Annals XII.xxxviii)

The fortress measures 1,300 feet from north-east to south-west, by 860 feet transversely (c.396 x 262 m) within the ramparts, giving an internal occupation area of about 25½ acres (c.10.4 ha). The defences comprised of a substantial rampart and double-ditch system.

Map References for Clyro

OS National Grid Reference: SO227435
Dimensions: c.1,300 x 860 ft (c.396 x 262 m)
Area: c.25½ acres (c.10.4 ha)

References for Clyro

  • Annales by Cornelius Tacitus, translated by J.Jackson (Loeb, Harvard, 1937);
  • Air Reconnaissance of Southern Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xliii (1953) p.86;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1955-7 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlviii (1958) p.95;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1965-1968 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lix (1969) p.123;
  • Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);
  • Roman Camps in England – The Field Archaeology by the R.C.H.M.E.

Roman Roads near Clyro

NE (2.5) to Clifford (Worcestershire) SW (17) to Y Gaer (Brecon Gaer, Powys)

Sites near Clyro Vexillation Fortress