Drayton Lodge Roman Fort

Claudian Auxiliary Fort (AD 43–54)

The Drayton Lodge Fort is a rectangular multivallate enclosure lies in farmland about ¾-mile (c. 1,200 m) south of the Watling Street Roman road, about 2½ miles (c.4 km) east of the Roman burgh and military complex at Uxacona (Redhill, Shropshire). Its external dimensions are approximately 670 feet from east to west by about 510 feet from north to south (c.205 x 155 m). Its defences consisted of four ditches on the east side and three ditches on all other sides. Originally discovered during an aerial survey of the Watling Street, photographs taken over a period of thirty years have revealed a centrally-placed gateway in the eastern side beneath the farm-road with an entrance causeway 15 metres wide through the defences; there is a triangular, double-ditched annexe attached to this side. Although the extensive earthworks cover an area of just over 7¾ acres (c.3.2 ha) the occupation space within the ramparts measures only about 330 feet square (c.100 x 100 m), an area of about 2½ acres (c.1 ha), which is suitable for housing a cohors peditata quingenaria, a 500-strong cohort of auxiliary foot-soldiers.

The fact that the fort was built at a distance from the military highway, which was constructed c. AD 50 and cannot be seen from the location, suggests that this was the first permanent military site in the area, predating the fortifications at Redhill which lie a little to the west along the Roman road; the over-elaborate defences may be indicative of an unknown enemy strength which also suggests an early establishment for the site. It is likely that the Drayton Lodge fort along with other small, square forts on the east banks of the Penk at Water Eaton in Staffordshire and of the Severn at Wroxeter in Shropshire may all be dated to the same campaign conducted by the propraetorian governor Ostorius Scapula sometime during AD 47.

Map References for Drayton Lodge

OS National Grid Reference: SJ761096
Dimensions: c.670 x 510 ft (c.205 x 155 m)
Area: c.7¾ acres (c.3.2 ha)

References for Drayton Lodge

  • Shropshire Sites and Monuments Record (PRN 01074, 20/11/2002)

Roman Roads near Drayton Lodge

None identified

Sites near Drayton Lodge Roman Fort