Roman Occupation

Britain was a province of the Roman Empire for 400 years. During that time the Roman army used over 550 sites as forts, temporary camps or depots. Some like the legionary fortresses at York and Chester were occupied for several hundred years, whilst at the other extreme many marching camps may have been used for a single night.

Two locations in the Kingswinford area are known to have existed, a fort and a number of marching camps at Greensforge and a marching camp at Swindon.

Marching Camps are overnight stops for armies or units on campaign and vary in size from 45 hectares downwards.

The camp at Ashwood Heath, Greensforge, was established in 47 AD by Ostorius. Some historians believe that this camp was of little importance. This may have been the case during the later period of the occupation, after the locals had been subdued, but there is further evidence that during the first century it was a camp of considerable importance. It was fortified and for security reasons would have been strongly garrisoned.

At this time it would have been almost entirely surrounded by forest, however to the west it would have been protected by the River Smestow and to the south there was a large lake almost 750 yards long. This lake was drained at the end of the 18th Century when the Staffs and Worcs canal was dug.

 

Greensforge

A Claudian fort of 1.6 ha, succeeded by another fort, possibly also a Claudian fort, of 2.2 ha outside the perimeter of the first. (OS map ref. SO8688)

Two marching camps, 3.3 ha and 13.2 ha. (OS map ref. SO8588)

Two marching camps, one of unknown size the other 0.4 ha. (OS map ref. SO8688)

Marching camp of unknown size. (OS map ref. SO8689)

 

Swindon

15 ha marching camp (OS map ref. SO8590)

 

For more info on Roman Britain, try these web sites:

Roman Military Sites in Britain

Roman Roads in the Central Midlands