Bremenium Fort - Rochester

Hands up if you know what ONAGRI are!I

I didn't know either but read on and learn ....... Just up the lane from STONYFIELD HOLIDAY COTTAGE is to be found the remains of the Roman fort known as Bremenium, situated on high ground and overlooking the Rede valley. The name Bremenium means the place of the roaring stream. The original Fort was rectangular and occupied an area of around five acres with a gateway in each of the four walls. Part of the structure of the West gate can still be seen. Projecting inwards from the walls, stone platforms were constructed on which were placed ONAGRI. These were a type of artillery, smaller versions of the better known BALLISTA, catapult-like machines designed to hurl missiles at any enemy advancing from the North down Dere Street, a Roman Road running from York to the Antonine Wall.

Initially, the Fort had turf ramparts but, during the governorship of Britain by Quintus Lollius Urbicus, it was up-graded to a stone fort. The Governor stayed here on his way North to build the Antonine Wall in 142 AD and it had a garrison of around 500 at that time. The Antonine wall was short-lved . The Fort at Bremenium remained occupied long after the abandonment of the Antonine Wall circa 160 AD and is believed to have housed a population of around 1000 in the 3rd Century. Within the fort were crowded together numerous buildings some with elaborate underfloor heating channels conducting hot air which are known as hypocausts.

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