Kemys Craig Roman Fort


There is a Small Roman Fort on Kemys Craig cocated at the south-western end of the Kemys Craig ridge on the opposite side of the road from the roadside settlement was a small Roman fort or fortlet, measuring 340 feet from north-west to south-east, by about 325 feet transversely (c.104 x 99 m), over the crests of the rampart, an area of only 2½ acres (c.1.02 ha). The substantial rampart, surviving in places over 20 feet wide and 4 feet high (c.6 x 1.2 m), was interrupted for a single gateway set almost centrally in its north-west side; there are traces of a similar gap in the south-west defences.

This camp commands excellent views over the estuary of the Usk and far along the river upstream towards the Burrium fortress. It is possible, indeed likely, that this small fort is contemporary with the Usk legionary encampment, and was built in order to maintain communication between the fortress and the early coastal fort at Cardiff, probably sometime during the campaigns of Quintus Veranius around 57/8AD; there would have been no reason to garrison this small outpost after the legionary force had been relocated to the fortress at Isca.

The other camps inferred by the Welsh name for the nearby village are spaced along the ridge of Kemys Craig, which overlooks the Usk from the south-east at a height of about 200m. The Roman fortlet appears at the south-western end of this ridge between two undated earthworks, while the north-eastern end is occupied by Caer Licyn, a Medieval ‘Motte & Bailey’.

Kemeys Graig woods on holds Kemeys Folly, a Grade II listed building was originally built in 1712 by George Kemeys a local landowner as a hunting lodge.

OS National Grid Reference: ST379917
Dimensions: c.340 x 325 ft (c.104 x 99 m)
Area: c.2½ acres (c.1.02 ha)

References for Kemys Craig Fort

  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1958-1960 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. li (1961) p.125;
  • Rome Against Caratacus by Graham Webster (Batsford, London, 1993);

Roman Roads near Kemys Craig Fort

N (6) to Bvrrivm (Usk, Gwent) W (3) to Isca Silvrvm (Caerleon, Gwent) E (6) to Venta Silvrvm (Caerwent, Gwent)

Sites near Kemys Craig Roman Fort