District: Ribble Valley
Name: Ribchester Roman fort.
Description: Remains of the bathhouse and granaries are exposed, and some earthworks are also visible. Museum.
The Roman fort at Ribchester covers an area of about seven acres, of which about a third has been destroyed by the erosion of the river. Excavation at various times and dates has revealed details of the fort defences, its internal buildings and the external civilian settlement or vicus. Portions of the granaries and bath house are still exposed to view.
The fort initially was composed of a substantial turf rampart with timber strapping and was fronted by three "V" shaped ditches, and appears to have been of Agricolan date. This fort appears to have been deliberately razed, and replaced by a smaller cavalry fort on a different alignment, which was again defended by turf ramparts. This fort appears to have possessed a cavalry practice hall, which is very unusual in Britain. The turf ramparts were cut into at a later date when stone walls were erected. The substantial vicus may also have been defended, at least in part, by a turf rampart, and evidence suggests that it too was deliberately destroyed and remodelled. The complex seems to span the period c.80 AD to the fourth century AD.
The bath house was discovered in 1837 when a hypocausted room was discovered by labourers. Excavations in 1927 and 1966-8 uncovered several stone walls, tile and stone pilae, furnaces and tiled floors. Excavation in 1977 uncovered features associated with the bath house and a preceding structure on the same site. The consolidation and re-excavation began in 1978.