Piercebridge Roman Fort
Piercebridge Roman Fort is one of a number of forts built along Dere Street, which was one of the most important roads in Roman Britain.
The Romans probably first came to Piercebridge in 70 AD when Cerialis attacked the British camp at Stanwick, three miles south of Piercebridge. Between 79 and 85 AD during Agricola's northern campaigns it is likely that Piercebridge was a major strategic river crossing on the main eastern supply route and a military presence to guard a bridge would be expected, yet no trace of a fort of this period has been located.
Towards the end of the 2nd century the first bridge, possibly destroyed by a flood, was replaced by another further downstream to the east and the line of Dere Street diverted. A civil settlement was found near the second bridge in 1971 and excavated. The south bridge abutment excavated the following year is now preserved and open to view. Since Roman times the River Tees has altered its course and the bridge is now high and dry.
By 125 AD a vicus or civil settlement was being built in the Toft's Field beside the early line of Dere Street. The residents were traders who relied on a permanent garrison for their living.
The fort seen today is thought to have been built around 270 AD or soon after. By 300 AD it seems to have been largely abandoned and kept on a care and maintenance basis for some 50 years, re-occupied in strength and much altered.
Information taken from 'Guide to Roman Piercebridge: East Gate and Defences' by Darlington Borough Council
The finds from the excavations are on permanent loan from Darlington Borough Council to the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.
Please contact the Bowes Museum [external link] to check whether the artefacts are on display before visiting.
The fort is cared for by Darlington Borough Council. The bridge is cared for by English Heritage.
The site is free.
Please do not park on the Village Green. The George Hotel [external link] kindly lets visitors use their car park when visiting the sites.
Do not climb on the walls and masonry and keep dogs on a lead.
It is an offence to use a metal detector on a scheduled site.