About Bremenium Roman Fort
Bremenium Roman Fort was an important Roman outpost and garrison located beyond the major fortifications of Hadrian’s Wall, near modern-day Rochester in Northumberland. It was built along Dere Street, the Roman road running from York to Corbridge, and onwards to Melrose in the Scottish Borders.
Bremenium Roman Fort history
The first incarnation of Bremenium Roman Fort dates to around 80AD, and was built by Julius Agricola, Governor of Britain in the late 1st century. Recent research suggests it was built on top of a previous Iron Age settlement, with its position at the edge of a ridge to the north and west affording it a strategic view over the Rede Valley.
A larger fort was rebuilt during the mid-to-late 2nd century, which in turn was replaced in the 3rd century, before its final phase was completed during the reign of Emperor Constantine, sometime in the 4th century. The heavily fortified garrison site stood for more than 200 years as the most northerly base in the entire Roman Empire, operating as an outpost fort beyond Hadrian’s Wall as a sort of early warning station.
Unlike many forts of its type, Bremenium had thicker walls and included significant artillery emplacements, highlighting the fact that this fort existed at the very fringes of Empire, essentially in enemy territory. Consequently, no civilian settlements grew up outside the walls and there seems to have been little or nothing of this nature at Bremenium.
Bremenium Roman Fort today
Today the fort is part of the small village of High Rochester and within the ancient walls are a number of small structures including two 16th century fortified farmhouses. Though much of the original stonework has been plundered over the years, some of the remains of the Roman fort can still be seen.
The west wall is the best preserved and consists of a 9ft high bank with stone facing, while one of the original gates can also still be admired. There are no information boards at the site leaving the stone remains the only mouthpiece of its history, however for those with an interest in Roman Britain, Bremenium provides an authentic first-hand glimpse into its ancient past.
Getting to Bremenium Roman Fort
Bremenium Roman Fort is located near Rochester in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just off the A68. As it is quite remote, public transport into the area is scarce with the nearest train station in Corbridge, 25 miles away. The 131, 815 and 885 bus services stop a 45-minute walk from the site at Bennettsfield however.