At Waterhead, near Ambleside, on the northern tip of Lake Windermere is the remains of Galava, a Roman fort first established during the reign of Agricola around 79CE. Originally a timber fort, home to 200 infantrymen, built to guard the road through eastern Cumbria.


The original wooden structure was subsequently replaced by a stone complex during Hadrianís reign, when the Wall was being built to the north. Although the ruins are not impressive, Ambleside Fort, as it is known locally, was of major importance during this period.


Built on a site of nearly 3 acres in Borrans Field, and protected on two sides by water, the fort had substantial roughly coursed stone walls four feet thick, with a clay ramp inside and a ditch surrounding it and turrets at the corners, and twin guard towers at the gate.


Contained within the walls were two granaries, complete with ovens for drying the grain stored there, and barracks to hold a cohort of 500 infantrymen. The house of the commander and the headquarters office buildings were all slated and glazed. Beneath the headquarters was a sunken room approached down a flight of stairs, this is considered a storage cellar, but I believe it to be the remains of a Mithraic temple.


It appears from the scanty remains, that the fort was attacked and destroyed at least once during the second or third centuries. Outside this Roman fort grew up the settlement that is today Ambleside.











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