Lyne Fort near Peebles

Lyne Roman Fort is on unspoilt land used for grazing and many features are viewable 2000 years later. It is little visited yet only a few minutes from Peebles. Two camps are also located nearby. The few finds show that the fort was built during the Antonine period 14-162 AD. On the other side of the river and southwest of here at Easter Happrew, there is another Roman fort. This smaller fort was built and used by Romans between 75 and 86 AD when Agricola marched the first Roman armies into Scotland.

The Lyne Roman fort can still easily be traced on the ground by following the outline of its broad and earth ramparts. The main buildings in the fort can no longer be seen, but excavations in 1900 and 1959 have shown that these were built with red sandstone. They included the headquarters building in the centre, a granary and the commandant’s house to the south, and on the north side a large building which may have been a workshop. The rest of the buildings mainly barrack blocks and stables would have been built with timber.

How the turf-walled fort may have looked
Copyright Alan Braby – used with permission

It was probably occupied for a few years. The garrison probably consisted of a mixed unit of cavalry and infantry up to a thousand strong. Agricola brought many auxiliary troops to Scotland from modern-day Germany, Holland and Belgium. The Batavians were 6 cohorts strong in Britain and likely to have been used. Evidence shows they were stationed along the Antonine and Hadrian’s Wall.

The fort you see here was built on the Roman road between the great forts of Trimontium near Melrose and Castledykes near Lanark. Along this route there are other forts and camps surrounding the farm of Lyne, there is a temporary camp measuring nearly 50 acres in size. However, its outline can now only be seen as a crop mark from the air. The soldiers who built the fort probably used this camp, Just to the north) of the fort is a tiny fortlet of which little is known and which also can no longer be seen on the ground.

discoloured grass follows the line of the road

Map of Forts, Camps and Native Hillforts

The native tribes of Tweeddale and Clydesdale were the Selgovae as described by the Romans. Numerous hilltop forts and lower defensive settlements of these people can be visited in these areas. Relations between the locals and the invaders were probably not friendly judging by the defensive requirements of each group. However, it is likely that many native hill forts existed before the Romans arrived, showing that hostilities already existed between tribes in southern Scotland. The people to the east were named Votadini, while those to the west were the Damnonii and the Novantae.


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