Gatehouse of Fleet Fortlet


This fortlet was very likely founded during the campaigns of governor Agricola sometime around 81AD. This was a very small encampment with no administrative buildings which probably housed a garrison of a single century or about 80 men. The only dateable pottery evidence are pieces of South Gaulish samian-ware produced during the Flavian period, possibly Flavian-Trajanic.

‘Ten miles south-west of Glenlochar, at Gatehouse of Fleet, is a small fort that marks the furthest Roman penetration into south-west Scotland yet established. The site, ½-mile north of the town of Gatehouse, occupies level ground above an old river scarp of the Water of Fleet. Two ditches set well apart define a rectangular area, with rounded angles, that measures about 180 by 200 ft. There seems to have been a single gate in the centre of the north-east side. No structures are visible in the interior. The fort lies too far upstream to have been connected with a harbour, and its purpose was doubtless to control this small valley, and to guard a route that continued further west, for Gatehouse can hardly be the end of the system.’ (St. Joseph, 1951)

The marching camp at Glenluce about 28 miles to the west near the Rhinns of Galloway is probably contemporary, as are at least some of the camps at Glenlochar, possibly also the suspected camp at Dalbeattie, about 14 miles to the east. Traces of a Roman road have been found which crosses the Fleet about 330 yards (c.300 m) to the south of the fortlet.

Map References for Gatehouse Of Fleet

OS National Grid Reference: NX596574
Dimensions: 200 x 180 ft (c.61 x 55 m)
Area: c.¾ acre (c.0.33 ha)

References for Gatehouse Of Fleet

  • Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) p.61;
  • The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
  • Britannia xiii (1982) p.337; Britannia xvi (1985) p.267.

Roman Roads near Gatehouse Of Fleet

Possible Coastal Route: NW (18) to Newton Stewart (Dumfries & Galloway) Probable Military Road: NE (11) to Lovcovivm (Glenlochar, Dumfries & Galloway)

Sites near Gatehouse of Fleet Fortlet