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The Roman Road from Old Carlisle to Maryport, Margary 754

More accurately a branch off the road from Old Carlisle to Papcastle at High Waverbridge to Maryport.

Richard Bellhouse was probably the biggest protagonist for this road having several attempts at finding the route. Unfortunately the only map he produced of the (east end of the) line in 1956 turned out to be incorrect. He corrected it later in 1960 but didn't produce a new map (both his articles in C&WAAS). Margary followed the erroneous map so the description in the latter's famous book is wrong.

The Lidar coverage has a big gap around Aspatria but there is sufficient data available at each end for the route to be plotted now with reasonable confidence.

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Lidar image and Route Map

The road branches off the Old Carlisle to Papcastle road at High Waverbridge. Lidar shows it well.

Bellhouse's initial route was further north along the Parish boundary. He was later to be made aware of tthe stone monument with plaque marking the line of the road in the school garden of Fletchertown National School (1866). What was recorded in the garden was "a cobbled surface which was interpreted as a Roman road, with flanking road-side ditches". Lidar confirms they were right.

This error by Bellhouse caused him to extrapolate his alignment too far to the south. Having subsequently learnt about the Fletchertown excavation he did not revise his line.

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Junction

Oblique Lidar image looking towards Aspatria

The straight first alignment of the road is obvious in 3D as is its alignment with the B5299 into Aspatria. There can be little doubt that this was the actual route of the Roman road.

 

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3D lidar

Lidar image and Route Map

This is the extent of the Lidar coverage at the east end of the road. It is clearly set out from the hill near the junction to Watch Hill and onwards. The direction implies it would coincide with the modern road approaching Aspatria. This is sensible as going via Aspatria keeps to high ground.

Bellhouse thought the route went close by the Sewage Works, near the railway, but this was based on his projecting forward his erroneous alignment. His route head for low ground by the River Ellen and his evidence he found there was also very circumspect. King Street through Aspatria fits the true alignment and, as we shall see, this fits with evidence coming in the other direction.

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Watch Hill

Lidar, Aerial and Map - Aspatria

Unfortunatley the Lidar coverage around Aspatria is currently incomplete but we can be reasonably confident as to the road's general course if not in precise detail. This will have to await the forthcoming new Lidar coverage.

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aspatria

A596, Nr. Prospect - looking towards Maryport

The A596 through the village of Prospect is typically Roman for around 1.5 miles.

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A596

Lidar + Aerial Image - Westmoor End to Maryport

This is the evidence that the A596 through Prospect is the Roman line. After the road has left the vicus at Maryport the alignment is direct and aims unerringly for the high point of Westmoor End and the current A596.

The Lidar runs out but the alignment of the road is so consistent that projecting it forward to Westmoor End is undoubtedly correct.

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Crosscanonby

Map - Westmoor End to Maryport

That alignment referred to above is even more obvious when the route is transferred to a map - Westmoor End at 76 metres AOD is the target.

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Crosscanonby

3D Lidar Image - looking back towards Allerby from Maryport.

The clues are subtle but when they all line up through several fields then the line of the road can regarded as certain. This alignment is aiming directly for the A596 at Westmoor End and Propect Village so even though the lidar runs out before then we can be confident of its destination.

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3D lidar

Full Route Map

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Full Route

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Last update: June 2019

© David Ratledge