RAVENGLASS

(Itunocelum)

  Quality of Remains  
  Ease of Access
  Atmosphere & Setting

History:

The Roman name for Ravenglass (Itunocelum) translates essentially as 'Port or seaside market'. It is the southernmost site on the west coast system of defences that followed on from the end of Hadrian's wall, as the next coastal site to have been identified south of Ravenglass is Lancaster. The fort was likely constructed during the Hadrianic period in the early second century and remained manned until at least the middle of the fourth century.

Occupation:

The earliest unit attested at Itunocelum are named the First Cohort of the Fleet of Aelius. They are certainly known to have occupied the site in the mid second century and the name of the fleet that they are attached to is a reference to the emperor Hadrian. The exact nature of this auxiliary cohort is uncertain, but the presence of a perfect natural harbour confirms the likelihood of naval activity here. The unit that occupied the site in the fourth century were the First Cohort of Morini from the Pas-de-Calais, a unit of auxiliary infantry five hundred strong.

Remains and Visit:

Sadly, the fort at Ravenglass is completely buried, though the site can be viewed from a gate and the defensive ditch and rampart can be made out. Sadly, the western side of the fort was destroyed by the construction of the railway and lies beneath the track. The remains that are visible, however, belonging to the fort's extra-mural bath house, make a visit well worthwhile. This building is signed 'Walls Castle' as it was mistaken for a medieval ruin until the twentieth century. The walls of the building are still intact enough to constitute rooms, and reach almost their full original height of 12 feet, complete with doorways and alcoves. There are even signs of the internal mortar covering of the walls here and there. Much of the bathhouse complex, including hypocaust flooring, remains buried under a field to the east. The bathhouse is reached by a long path that runs from Ravenglass itself parallel to the railway.

Images:

Ravenglass baths
Ravenglass baths
Ravenglass baths
Three images of the Ravenglass bath house