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© Mike Haken & RRRA, 2018
West Riding of Yorkshire, Derbyshire
The following account owes much to the dissertation project of David Inglis, whose detailed analysis of the claims and the evidence has finally given some clarity to this road (Inglis 2016).
The existence of a Roman road linking the forts of Navio (Brough on Noe) and Templeborough, Rotherham has been postulated for well over a century by a host of writers. Whilst the fort experienced a short period of abandonment from c. AD 120 to c. AD 154-
The uncertainty starts immediately after leaving the fort -
Fig 1. also shows the divergence heading east between Wroe’s proposed line, and that suggested by lidar. Wroe’s route is essentially the “traditional” route for the road, with slight variations, as proposed by Leader (Leader 1879) and later Preston (Preston, 1957), which climbs very steeply north of Bamford, following the slope whilst continuing to climb until eventually meeting the almost impassable barrier of Stanage Edge. The road climbs through what Preston describes as a “cleft” in the edge (ibid. p.333), more accurately a quite crude cutting, but rather than follow the surviving road along the Edge to Stanage Pole and then along the Long Causeway as was the traditional line of the Roman road, and marked as such on OS maps, Preston proposed a route which went directly over Hallam Moors to cross the Long Causeway before Lodge Moor, and then along a fairly direct route which passes in front of Weston Park and the University, and through Sheffield to a point just below Park Hill, where RR189 takes up the alignment eastwards, RR710b now bearing north west towards Templeborough. It is fair to say that no convincing evidence has ever been found for any variant of the route over Stanage Edge, and whilst there can be little doubt that Preston’s excavation on Lodge Moor did find a road, 31ft wide between side ditches, there is nothing definitively Roman about it.
The Long Causeway route is attractive as a potential Roman route, as it is a close approximation to a straight line route between Navio and Templeborough. It does, however, have one major drawback -
Some thirty six years after Welsh made his discoveries, Bryn Gethin and Hugh Toller recognised a series of features in the area around Scraperlow near Hathersage, which they identified as being likely to be part of a Roman road (Toller 2014). This information was passed on to the Time Travellers, a Sheffield based community archaeology society, whose Roman Group were re-
There were still issues, one of them being the long linear feature which descended from Houndkirk Moor (fig. 7). When it passed Sheep Hill Farm, Ringinglow, it looked most uncharacteristic of a Roman road, being too wide, and with what appeared to be a single huge ditch. The writer now must admit to announcing at the time that he was “not convinced”! In late 2015, the Time Travellers, led by David Inglis, excavated a one metre trench across the north western part of that feature, which revealed that this was indeed a well engineered road built on a raised platform, and with a rock-
There are now four known sites, all high on hillsides with commanding views, where the road engineering was hugely oversized, and it seems possible that this was intended to make a striking statement in the landscape. This is by far the biggest, although the length of this monumental widening has not yet been determined. The fact that the site had a commanding view over a huge area, with a clear line of sight as far as Lincoln, probably played a major part in the choice of route.
The road continues on the same alignment as far as Limb Brook, and whilst features on the alignment can be seen along its length, it is not clear how far the monumental scale of engineering continues. The recent discovery of the site a Roman signal tower, which appears to date from the Flavian period, AD69 -
Beyond the Limb Brook however, all trace of the road seems to disappear, presumably long since ploughed out. The most likely course would have been for the road to maintain the same alignment crossing Ringinglow Road just west of Firs Farm, and then close to the length of footpath that links Cottage Lane to Common Lane, which might fossilise the line. A slight change of alignment would be needed to avoid the small stream just to the east, and there is a feature showing on lidar adjacent to the houses at the bottom of the hill on Whiteley Wood Road, running for about 50m, which could possibly be the remains of agger (SK 3126 8504). Assuming that this line is correct, the road would have crossed the Porter Brook and then climbed gently past Hanging Water to Ranmoor, where a short length of Hangingwater Road north of Nethergreen Road might represent it, although where Hangingwater road bears north, the Roman line would have gone straight on before bearing more easterly to head down into modern Sheffield, possibly approximating to the modern Fulwood Road. It would then have met Preston’s proposed route through Sheffield (Preston, 1957) at Summerfield, with Fulwood Road continuing to represent it until it approaches the city, where eventually its line is marked by Western Bank, Brook Hill, Broad Lane and then the eastern part of Campo Lane.
From here it aligns fairly well with the western extension of the Catcliffe to Oldcoates road, RR189 (Greene 1955, p.548), which raises the question of whether or not the two are actually part of the same road. Alternatively, the original road may have turned north east in what is now Darnall, following the south east bank of the R.Don to Templeborough. The approach to Templeborough from Sheffield may have been identified by Greene in 1955 although a full excavation could not be conducted(Greene, 1957). It seems to align reasonably well with the road leading out of the south west gate, identified by Leader as leading to Park Hill in Sheffield (Leader 1879, p.605). Either way, the road does seem to have served as a primary route for the export of lead at one or other river port.
Bidwell, P. & Hodgson, N. (2009); The Roman Army in Northern England ; The Arbeia Society
Drage, c. (1993); Brough-
Greene, D. (1955); The Roman Roads in South Yorkshire; Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol 38 Part 152; Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds, pp. 546 -
Greene, D. (1957); The Roman Roads in the Don Valley: The Roman Fort, Templebrough -
Hey, D. (2010) A History of Sheffield; Carnegie Publishing; Lancaster:
Inglis, D. H. (2016); The Roman Road Project ; dissertation project, University of Sheffield
Jeffery, T (2014); Report on return visit to Sheffield by the Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society to look at two possible routes for a Roman road between Brough and Templeborough and follow-
Leader, J. D. (1879); Roman Rotherham. In J. Guest (ed.) Historical Notices of Rotherham. Robert White, Worksop. pp. 593-
Margary, Ivan D. (1973); Roman Roads in Britain, John Baker, London
Moorhouse, S. (Ed.) (1978); The Yorkshire Archaeological Register: 1977 in Yorkshire Archeological Journal Vol. 50 pp. 7-
Preston, F. L. (1957); The Roman East-
Toller, H. S. (2014); Pers. Comms.
Welsh, T. C. (1984); Road Remains at Burbage and Houndkirk Moors, Sheffield: A Possible Roman Road. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal. Vol 56 Leeds; pp. 27-
Wilson, P. (Ed.) (2017); Roman Britain in 2016; Britannia Vol 48; Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies; London pp. 332-
Wroe, P. (1982); Roman Roads in the Peak District, Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol 102 pp. 49 -
Fig. 1 Composite low resolution lidar image superimposed on Bing aerial photo, showing probable line of RR710b running down the Hope Valley past Bamford.
Fig. 2 Composite low resolution lidar image superimposed on Bing aerial photo, showing probable line of RR710b running down the Hope Valley past Bamford.
Fig. 3, Stanage Edge. Ask yourself, if you were a Roman surveyor would you plan a road crossing that? © Dan, some rights reserved.
Fig. 5 The recently landscaped lawn at Scraperlow,nr. Hathersage. The agger of RR710a is clearly visible. Photo © Tim Jeffery 2018
Fig. 4 Clear raised feature, probably the agger of RR710a at SK24138123, south west of Scraperlow,nr. Hathersage. Photo © Tim Jeffery 2018
Fig. 6 Lidar image overlaid on Bing aerial photo, showing the line of RR710a heading east from Hathersage, working its way around the hillsides and through the deep cutting known as Winyards Nick
Fig. 9 Excavation of RR710b in 2016 at Sheephill Farm, in the south east ditch. This is one of just a handful of such monumental scale works now starting to be recognised
Fig. 8 Monumental scale rock-
Fig. 7 Google aerial photo showing the clear line of RR710b crossing Houndkirk Moor and descending to the Limb Brook
Roman Sites on Route:
Historic Environment Records, HE Pastscape and other records
Click Images to enlarge
Entry compiled by Mike Haken -