Shapwick (Vindocladia Burgus) Roman Fort

Claudian Auxiliary Fort (AD 43–54)

The Roman fort at Shapwick lies about two miles south-east of the Roman-British town of Vindocladia (Shapwick), formerly the Badbury Rings hillfort, on the line of the later Roman road between that former stronghold of the Durotriges and their later Romano-British civitas capital at Dorchester (Durnovaria)(Dorchester, Dorset).

This fort is undoubtedly part of the initial Roman advance through the area and was probably established either in 44AD or 45, during the campaigns of the Roman general Flavius Vespasianus, who was later to become emperor. The fact that a large Claudian ‘vexillation’ fortress lies only four miles to the south-east at Lake Farm Roman Vexillation Fort possibly indicates that the Shapwick auxiliary fort was among the first Roman military sites in the area, built when the The Second Augustan Legion (Legio Secundae Augusta) was operating from Chichester (Noviomagus Reginorum), almost sixty miles along the coast to the east. On this premise it is possible that Shapwick was so sited as to provide protection for the construction parties working on the nearby legionary campaign fortress, and was occupied for only a short time before the Legion arrived in force to garrison the completed fortress. This is all conjecture, however, and unsupported by any physical evidence.

References for Shapwick

  • Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001).

Roman Roads near Shapwick

ENE (2) to Vindocladia (Shapwick) WSW (19) to Durnovaria(Dorchester, Dorset)

Sites near Shapwick (Vindocladia Burgus) Roman Fort