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The Roman Fortress of dewa model of the fortress of dewa in the Grosvenor Museum

The Roman fortress of dewa was established in AD43 under the reign of Emperor Claudius, as a legionary garrison of four to six thousand men, mostly Roman citizens. The fortress was originally occupied from AD71 to AD86, by the second legion of the Roman army. Nicknamed "ADTIVTRIX PIA FIDELIS" (the reserve, the pious, the faithful).

The second legion was sent to reinforce the Danube defences in AD86. And so was replaced by the Twentieth legion nicknamed "Valeria Victrix" (the valerian, the victorious). dewa was the home of the legion until the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.

The fortress defences began as a ditch or a fossa, and an embankment or an agger, with a wooden palisade. This was in time replaced by a stone wall and towers. On the 25th of May 1748 an inscribed stone was found to east of Newgate Street referring to the construction of a portion of the wall. The stone is now in the Grosvenor museum and can be translated as "The century of Ocratius Maximus, in the first cohort of the legion, built this piece of wall".

The fortress was laid out in the standard Roman way. Playing card in shape with defensive angle towers and interval towers, enclosing sixty acres (the largest fortress in Britain). There were four entrances, one at each side. The main road ran east to west and was called the 'via principalis'. The east entrance has a double archway with a statue of Mars in the middle. A Roman arch was discovered when the old Eastgate was taken down in 1767. The entrance from the south ran up to the 'principia' headquarters building. And was called the 'via principia'. The entrance from the north ran south and was called the 'via decumana'.

After the Roman army left the inside of the fortress was gradually cleared away. Stone was robbed and reused. But the walls remained. They have been repaired over the years. And extended by Aethelflaeda 'lady of the Mercians' in AD907.

You can walk the Walls in digital photographs here.

Roman Eastgate or 'Porta Principia Sinistra' from a model in the Grosvenor Museum.
Roman Eastgate or Porta Principia Sinistra from a model in the Grosvenor Museum..

A reconstruction of a Roman Fortess Gateway at Castlefields, Manchester
A reconstruction of a Roman Fortess Gateway at Castlefields, Manchester

The Principia

www. chester tourist .com = dewa Principia model in the Grosvenor Museum

The Centuriae (Barracks)

www. chester tourist .com = dewa Barracks model in the Grosvenor Museum www. chester tourist .com = Roman roof model in the Grosvenor Museum www. chester tourist .com = Roman 'antefix' roof tile in the Grosvenor Museum

The photo to the left shows a model in the Grosvenor Museum of a Roman barrack block called in Roman times a 'centuriae'. In the centre is a photo of a reconstruction of a roman roof also in the museum. To the right is a actual Roman 'Antefix' terminating roof tile found in Chester bearing emblem of the legion XX, the wild boar.

A Plan of the Roman Fortress of dewa

The areas marked in red are the remains visible today.
Deva

Surviving Remains of the Roman Fortress

1. Surviving part of the northern fortress wall

Surviving part of the Roman fortess wall

2. Modern day Northgate Street follows the course of the Roman via Decumana

Modern day Northgate Street follows the course of the Roman via Decumana

3. Surviving part of the East fortress wall

Surviving part of the Roman fortess wall

4. Surviving part of the Roman strong room is on show

Surviving part of the Roman strong room

5. Surviving Column base from the Principia is visible through a shop floor

Column base from the Roman Principia

6. Modern day Eastgate Street follows the course of the Roman via Principalis

Modern day Eastgate Street follows the course of the Roman via Principalis

7. Surviving part of a Roman hypocaust (in situ) in the Roman Baths

Surviving part of a Roman hypocaust in the Roman Baths

8. South East Roman corner tower

South East Roman corner tower

9. Roman Amphitheatre

Roman Amphitheatre

10. Modern day Pierpoint Lane follows the course of a Roman alleyway

Modern day Pierpoint Lane follows the course of a Roman alleyway

11. Modern day Upper Bridge Street follows the course of the Roman via Praetoria

Modern day Upper Bridge Street follows the course of the Roman via Praetoria

Roman Hypocaust in situ

Roman Finds in Chester
www. chester tourist .com = Roman finds

The Roman Stones in the Grosvenor Museum

Roman Title

Roman Tile

Roman Tombstone

Roman Tombstone

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