Piercebridge Fort and Bridge
Piercebridge, County Durham
- Romans annexed the north of England, including Piercebridge, around AD 72 taking the territory from the Brigantes afer the revolt of Venutius.
- Early bridge and fort built at Piercebridge (possibly known as Morium) around AD 100 at the junction of the River Tees and the Roman road known as Dere Street which was first built around AD 80. The crossing attracted many traders and merchants.
- Dere Street ran from York (Eboracum) north through Corbridge (Coria) near Hadrian’s Wall and continued to the Antonine Wall.
- Other forts along Dere Street included Binchester, Ebchester and Lanchester.
- New bridge built around AD 200-220 to replace the earlier bridge which was destroyed by flooding. Town (vicus) surrounding fort expanded at this time.
- Stone fort remains date from AD 260.
- Inscriptions on altars and tombstones found here indicate that soldiers from Upper and Lower Germany were stationed here possbily attached to the 6th legion based in York (Eboracum), the 2nd Augusta legion from Caerleon (Isca), and from the 22nd Primigenia. Those from the 22nd may have come here with Septimius Severus to campaign in Scotland during the 3rd century.
- If the fort at Piercebridge was called Morium it was garrisoned by a heavy calvary unit at the end of the 4th century.
- A section of the AD 260 stone fort remains is visible and includes defensive ditches, the maingate, a corner of the praetorium (commanding officer’s courtyard house) foundations, and part of the praetorium bath suite.
- The fort covered 10 acres and most of its remains are now under the town of Piercebridge.
- Remains of AD 220 bridge abutment can be seen near the River Tees by the George Inn. This bridge would have been made of stone foundations and piers with a timber superstructure.
- New bridge was built to the east of the older bridge over the flood plain. Over the years the bridge abutment was silted up keeping the remains in place for later discovery.
- Use of the stone fort continued well past the end of Roman Britannia in AD 410.