Llwyn-y-Brain (Caersws1 & 2) Roman Fort

Flavian Auxiliary Fort (AD 69–96)

There are two Roman military forts at Caersws, Powys in Mid Wales. Both are located in a central position in the Roman military system controlling mid Wales, with roads leading east, north, north-west and west, with a further, as yet unlocated, road to the south towards Castell Collen.

The fort, also known to archaeologists as Caersws I, was discovered by Professor St. Joseph on aerial photographs in 1957 (published in JRS xlviii.97) lying partly within a loop of the River Severn, and was at first identified as a campaign camp or ‘vexillation’ fortress. Subsequent A.P.’s taken by Nash-Williams in 1969 confirmed the presence of a ‘large fort’ protected on at least two sides by extra defensive ditches. The enclosure measures about 770 feet from east to west by about 580 feet transversely, an area of around 10¼ acres (c.4.15 ha).

This has been attributed to the campaigns of Quintus Veranius in either 57AD or 58, and it was superseded by the smaller auxiliary fort at Caersws Village (Caersws II) about ¾ mile further west during the early campaigns of governor Agricola c.78AD. This dating is based on evidence from the Caersws II fort, the fort at Llwyn-y-Brain having not yet been excavated.

It measures 188m by 177m, enclosing an area of 3.2ha. It’s earliest phase appears to be very early Flavian (c. AD 70), with subsequent Trajanic / Hadrianic (c. AD 120) and Hadrianic / Antonine (c. AD 140) phases, but the site appears to go out of military use in the early third century. An annex was added on the northern side in the early second century, and there was an extensive vicus on the south and east sides. This vicus had a developed series of streets, timber buildings, and the possible temenos of a temple was identified during excavations in the 1990s. A bathhouse discovered in 1854 lay to the south of the fort but what remains of this now lie beneath the railway.

Map References for Llwyn Y Brain

OS National Grid Reference: SO042926
Dimensions: c.770 x 580 ft (c.235 x 177 m)
Area: c.10¼ acres (c.4.15 ha)

References for Llwyn Y Brain

  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1955-7 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlviii (1958) p.97;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1965-1968 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lix (1969) pp.121-3 & fig.7;

Roman Roads near Llwyn Y Brain

None identified

Sites near Llwyn-y-Brain (Caersws1 & 2) Roman Fort