Kirkland Roman Fortlet


The Kirkland Roman Fortlet was discovered from the air by the RCAHMS in 1989 and first reported in Britannia the following year, this suspected Roman fortlet was partially excavated by Lawrence Keppie (in 1992?) who confirmed the character of the site. Keppie recorded the remains of a small Roman fort or fortlet defended by a rampart and single ditch which had been heavily damaged by ploughing leaving no internal features. The north-western quadrant of the fortlet appears to have been lost to the eroding effects of the Cairn Water while the south-western corner-angle narrowly missed being destroyed during the building of a railway cutting (now abandoned) in the 19th century. Excavation indicated a single build and occupation sometime during the Flavian period, which apparently ended with the fortlet being deliberately demolished prior to the garrison’s withdrawal.

Keppie believes that this fortlet may represent part of another, as yet unidentified and unconfirmed, line of communication between the fort complex at Drumlanrig and the capital of the local Novantae tribe at Stranraer. This communications link presumably ran west from Kirkland along the south bank of the Cairn Water and then south-west along the valley of the Castlefairn Water and the Blackmark Burn to Corriedoo, closely following the course taken by the modern A702. Thereafter the postulated Roman route ran west-south-west via either Saint John’s Town of Dalry or New Galloway to Newton Stewart, following the course taken by the modern A712.

References for Kirkland

  • Britannia xxi (1990) p.312;
  • Britannia xxiv (1993) p.281.

Map References for Kirkland

NGRef: NX804901 OSMap: LR78

OS National Grid Reference: NX804901
Dimensions: 203 x 165+ ft (c.62 x 50+ m)
Area: c.¾-acre (c.0.31ha)

Roman Roads near Kirkland

None identified

Sites near Kirkland Roman Fortlet