Lanchester, (Longovicium) Roman station
Shelfmark: Additional MS 15540
This fort (known as Longovicium by the Romans) was built in 140 AD and covered an area of six acres, providing accommodation for up to 1000 troops guarding the important military route known as Dere Street. At the time of Grimm’s visit, the walls, some of them nine feet thick, were plainly visible but already deteriorating. As the fort fell into disuse it became a convenient source of building materials for the village. Though somewhat reduced, the earthworks are still highly impressive. The fort could be one of the greatest potential archaeological sites in Durham since the ground, owned by a local family since the 17th century, is undeveloped. Despite geomagnetic surveys suggesting substantial remains of its buildings, the fort has seen only limited excavation in 1937, which revealed a series of watch and signalling towers, as well as evidence of centrally-heated living quarters - probably the private rooms of the officer in command!
The parish church at Lanchester contains many remnants of this old Roman fort.