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© Mike Haken & RRRA, 2018
Margary, I.D. (1973) Roman Roads in Britain, Baker, London
Corder, Philip & Kirk, John (1928); Roman Malton: A Yorkshire Fortress and its Neighbourhood in Antiquity, vol. 2, 1928
Hayes, R.H. (1953), Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Part 150, Vol38, p260
Lyall, J. (2017); pers. comms.
Marwood, J; (1995) History of Gilling http://www.apl385.com/gilling/history/chapter6.htm; accessed 28/5/2017
“skirted the south corner of the fortress and was found in several places along the line of the modern road through Malton leading to the Street villages and Hovingham. In Castlegate it was a paved road of large blocks of stone set in cement nine to twelve inches thick and between three and four feet below the present surface, the centre, forming a channel, being lower than the sides.”
This description, of a paved road with a hollow in the middle is peculiar, the opposite of the normal well cambered agger surfaced with small stones or gravel, and should be treated with caution, but not dismissed out of hand. In 1951, the trench for a water main from the Ness reservoir cut across the green lane just east of Broughton (SE 7697 7302), and a heavily metalled road some 14ft wide with two side ditches was revealed (Hayes, 1953). No excavation was possible, so only a brief description exists. On approximately the same alignment just west of Amotherby, a linear feature can be seen on aerial photographs (fig. 1) and traces of metalling were said to be visible in the four narrow fields known as the Knolls (N. Yorks HER). Further west, the Roman Temporary camp at Wath is certainly suggestive of a Roman or pre-
Fig. 1 Linear feature interpreted as probable Roman road west of Amotherby
Roman Sites on Route:
Historic Environment Records, HE Pastscape and other records
North Riding of Yorkshire
High Street (B1257), sometimes known as Malton Street, which runs westwards from Malton through Broughton, Swinton, Amotherby, Appleton-
On the map, it can clearly be seen that the modern road does meander along what is a generally straight course but the locations of the medieval settlements along its length have almost certainly been determined by the spring-
There is clearly some evidence for a well constructed road heading from Malton towards Hovingham, and the apparent straight alignment from Broughton to just west of Amotherby is certainly indicative of a possible Roman road rather than a medieval one. The relatively narrow width of 14ft is a concern (Roman roads were usually about 5m (17ft) wide, sometimes wider), but this may indicate that the road was relatively minor and possibly quite late in construction. Unfortunately, there is no Environment Agency lidar coverage so that useful tool is not available to us. From the archaeological evidence alone, we would have to say that there may have been a Roman road here, but that it is far from certain.
If it is Roman, its destination has always been a mystery. Margary speculated that it may extend to the supposed Roman road (Saxty Way) near Sowerby, near Thirsk, and others have suggested that it continues to Aldborough along the lane running WSW from Hovingham to Coulton, recorded as Malton Street on the 1856 OS 6” map (Marwood, 1995). Hovingham itself may be the key to this puzzle. It has been known since the 18th century that there was a Roman site at Hovingham, usually interpreted as a villa. Recent work at this site (Lyall, 2017) is suggesting that the site may be much more important than just an agricultural estate. The possibility that RR814 could be a road to Hovingham and not to a military site elsewhere is becoming a distinct possibility. This hypothesis is supported by the recent discovery of another road near Strensall (RR802(x)) clearly aligned on Hovingham. There is a possible third, heading north east from the Roman bridge at Aldborough, although this is more probably part of RR815 directly to Malton.
Much more work is needed to establish this road for certain, but on balance a Roman road from Malton to Hovingham, and thus giving access to Aldborough, seems highly likely.
Entry compiled by Mike Haken, last updated 20/7/17