Martinhoe Beacon, Roman Fort

Record ID:  100479 / MNA107809
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Scheduled Monument
NT Property:  West Exmoor Coast; South West
Civil Parish:  Martinhoe; North Devon; Devon
Grid Reference:  SS 6631 4933
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Martinhoe Beacon. Roman fortlet excavated 1960-1961 by Fox and Ravenhill. A small square centre enclosure, fortified with a rampart and double ditches, with a third rampart and ditch about 21.34m away on the landward side, forming a roughly circular outer enclosure (fox, 1961).

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • FORT (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)


The inner rampart was of turf, the outer of dump construction made from material from the ditch. The entrance to the inner enclosure was on the seaward side; a metalled causeway led to a double portalled gateway. The outer entrance was on the opposite (south) side, possible remains of signal fires within this enclosure. The inner enclosure contained three timber buildings; a pair of L shaped barracks on the west and east, and a small rectangular building on the south side. Each barrack contained eight cubicles, and one had three extra rooms added sometime later. The smaller building of two rooms had a small domed furnace or forge nearby, and might therefore have been used by a smith or armourer.
Immediately within the intervallum were a number of clay and timber field ovens.
Pottery from the excavations dated occupation to circa 55-75AD, and included samian forms 15117 and 18, one stamped licinus (AD46-65), stamped mortarium and native ware. Also found were two bronze coins of nerd. The fortlet is considered to have been occupied on a semi-permanent basis for about 10-20 years within the period 55-75AD, and to have been associated with the roman conquest of the silures (a south welsh tribe). There would have been sufficient room for a century of soldiers (Fox, 1966).
At Martinhoe, traces of the foundations of timber buildings were identified in excavation, leading the excavators to suggest that this site was in use for a much longer period, possibly replacing the site at old burrow (Griffith).


  • SZB52452 - Pamphlet: The National Trust/Devon Archaeological Society. 1991. Martinhoe Beacon - The Roman Fortlet.

  • SZR49036 - National Trust Report: Caroline Thackray. 1984. NT Archaeological Survey, Holdstone Down, Devon.


Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

Associated Events

  • ENA490 - Field Survey, NT Archaeological Survey, Heddon Estate, Devon

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded