Burgh Castle Roman Fort | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Burgh Castle Roman Fort

Great Yarmouth, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Burgh Castle Roman Fort

The Roman Fort at Burgh Castle is one of the best preserved Roman sites in Britain. Built in the 3rd century, the walls of this impressive fortification remain in remarkably good condition – they survive on three sides and stretch as high as four metres.

Burgh Castle Roman Fort history

Burgh Castle Roman Fort – known as Gariannonum – was originally built between 260 AD and 280 AD as part of the ‘Saxon Shore’ defences, designed to protect against seaborne raiders from Denmark and Germany. These important naval bases defended trading centres and local settlements, with other Saxon Shore forts in the area located at Brancaster and Caister-on-Sea.

The walls of Burgh Castle Roman Fort were originally around four metres wide and stood as much as four and a half metres high. They were fortified further with projecting towers or bastions used for catapults called ‘ballistae’ – adding further firepower to the fort’s defences.

After the end of the Roman period the site was taken over by the Saxons, with evidence suggesting that it was one time a monastery and later a Norman fortification, holding a motte and bailey castle.

Burgh Castle Roman Fort today

Today the remains of Burgh Castle Roman Fort are truly impressive, both for their state of preservation and for their location, situated on a low cliff above the Waveney estuary. The ancient site is managed by English Heritage, with visitors invited to explore its ruins alongside a series of interpretation panels exploring the history of Burgh Castle.

Throughout the site a number of features indicate its past use, from holes likely used for anchoring the ballistae catapults, to a break in the fort’s wall where the ditches of the medieval motte and bailey castle were cut through.

Getting to Burgh Castle Roman Fort

Burgh Castle Roman Fort is located 3 miles west of Great Yarmouth off the A143. The nearest train station is Great Yarmouth, 5 miles away, from which the 5 and 7 bus services stop a 5-minute walk from the site at the Queens Head.

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