Burgh Castle, Norfolk
4 miles South East of Great Yarmouth
Off A12 / A143
Burgh Castle is one of the best preserved roman forts in the country. Built in the 3rd century on a low bank above the Waveney estuary now surrounded by marshes, its substantial walls and sheer size of the fort is still very impressive.
Set within the beautiful backdrop of the most southerly part of the Norfolk broads with white sailed yachts passing slowly by, this is a tranquil setting well worth a visit.
~ History ~
230's AD ~ The Roman Empire faces a grave crisis. Internally, weakened by constant civil wars, the violent succession of brief emperors, while externally it faces a new wave of attacks by barbarian tribes.
Most of Britain has been part of the empire since the mid 1st century protected from raids in the north by the Hadrianic and Antonine Walls, while a fleet of some size was also available.
However, as the frontiers come under increasing external pressures, fortifications are built throughout the Empire in order to protect cities and guard strategically important locations. It is in this context that the forts of the Saxon Shore are constructed.
Under Severus Alexander, several units are withdrawn from the northern frontier to garrison key locations in the south, with new forts built at Brancaster, Caister-on-Sea and Reculver. Dover is already fortified in the early 2nd century, and the other forts are built as part of the Saxon Shore fortifactions.
270's ~ Burgh Castle is built under the command of the Count of the Saxon Shore for the Stablesian cavalry unit, 500 strong.
300's ~ Burgh and Caister Castles, collectively known as Gariannonum control the entrance to the Waveney estuary, which is occupied by extensive marshes.
367 ~ Saxons, Picts and Scots make a concerted attack on Britain, the Saxon shoreline forts are overrun.
630 ~ Sigeberht, King of the East Angles, gives land inside Burgh Castle to St Fursa to found a monastery. The site is now referred to as Cnobheresburh.