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THE TENTH ITER AND THE ROMAN STATIONS
IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND.
By R. H. FORSTER, Esq., M.A., Hox. TREASURER.
(Read April 18th, 1906.) HE Tenth Iter of the Antonine Itinerary,
and the western fortresses per lineam valli of the Notitia, have been the subjects of much speculation since the time of Camden; and though it is impossible, in the present state of our knowledge,
to come to a definite conclusion, it may be useful to sum up the circumstantial evidence, and to point out where research is likely to produce good results.
The Tenth Iter begins at Glanoventa, and ends at Mediolanum, in Cheshire, but it is more convenient to trace it in the reverse direction. It has been generally agreed that the route runs through Manchester (Mancunium), Wigan (Coccium), and Ribchester (Bremetonacum), to Overborough, near Kirby Lonsdale, where there was an important Roman town. This place is about the required distance (27 miles) from Ribchester, and it may therefore be set down as Galacum. From Overborough a Roman road continues in the same line up the Lune
1 Iter a Glanoventa Mediolano, m. p. cl., sic.
m. p. xviii.
m. p. xxvii.
m. p. XX. Mancunio
m. p. xvii. Condate.
m. p. xviii. Mediolano
valley, past a fort at Low Borrow Bridge, and across the moors to Kirby Thore, from which place a road called the Maiden Way, or Maiden Gate, traverses the Cross Fell range to Whitley Castle, a Roman station by the south Tyne, and so leads to Magna on the Wall. This is the route which Mr. Watkin' identifies with the Tenth Iter, placing Alone at Borrow Bridge, Galava at Kirby Thore, and Glanoventa at Whitley Castle, but the identification is not satisfactory.
1. There is a serious difference between the distance of Kirby Thore from Borrow Bridge (about 16 English miles) and the distance of Galava from Alone (12 Roman miles), which can only be got over by supposing a copyist's error.
2. Whitley Castle was a large station, but it can hardly have been a place of sufficient importance for the commencement of an Iter. No doubt the First Iter begins at Bremenium, and the second at Blatum Bulgium, neither of them important stations ; but these places were on what, at the date of the Itinerary, must have been the northern frontier, and Whitley Castle was not.
3. There is good reason to believe that Kirby Thore is the Brovonacæ of the Second Iter, and probably it is the Braboniacum of the Notitia. B and V were readily interchangeable—c.g., the Aballava of inscriptions becomes Aballaba in the Notitia--and by the end of the third century the spelling of names had become to some extent corrupted. Many authorities hold that the Brovonacæ of the Second Iter is the same as the Brocavum of the Fifth, on the ground that the Kirby Thore station was a little to the east of the line of the road; but the same objection would tell against Mr. Watkin's theory of the Tenth Iter, since Overborough lies a little to the west of his route. In either case, the objection is trivial. We are dealing with a list of convenient mansiones, or stopping-places ; and to a traveller on the great road from York to Carlisle a détour of a few hundred yards would be a matter of small consequence ; nor is it
1 Roman Lancashire. By W. Thompson Watkin. 1883. Chapter ii.
necessary to suppose that the mansio was within the
Luguvallum to Brovonaca 27 Roman miles.
26! English miles.
13 Roman miles. Kirby Thore to Brough
12. English miles. 2. Fifth Iter. Verteræ to Brocavum
20 Roman miles. Brough to Brougham
19 English miles. Brocavum to Luguvallum 22 Roman miles. Brougham to Carlisle
20 English miles.
It will be noticed that there is a discrepancy of two miles in the Roman mileage, but the distances are given. as approximate only.
Now, if Kirby Thore is Brovonacæ, or Braboniacum, it cannot be Galava, and we must find some other route for the Tenth Iter. The late Chancellor Ferguson suggested that Glanoventa—the starting point-was probably a great military centre, like Old Carlisle near Wigton, or an important port on the Cumberland coast, such as Ravenglass. Old Carlisle is at about the right distance -48 miles—from Overborough in a direct line, but the distance by road is too great, and it is impossible to make the intermediate mansiones fit it with known Roman sites. Let us see how Ravenglass will suit us.
From Overborough a Roman road has been traced westward to the Lune, and the remains of oak piles have been found in the bed of the river. A little south of Kendal, at a place called Watercrook, are the remains of a Roman station, 12 miles from Overborough in a direct line; but if this road ran westward through Burton in Kendal, where Roman remains have been found, and joined the road from Lancaster to Watercrook, the distance is extended to about 18 miles, and the Itinerary makes Alone and Galacum 19 Roman miles apart. Watercrook is therefore a suitable site for Alone, espe
I A History of Cumberland. 1890. P. 37.
2 Roman Lancashire, p. 84. See also Appendix to The Antiquities of Overborough, by the Rev. Richard Rauthmel. 2nd Edit., 1824.