From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Rutupiæ - Richborough Castle

51° 17′ 38.05″ N, 1° 19′ 57.79″ E

  • History
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
  • Gallery
Richborough Castle is a Roman shore fort located at Richborough, close to Sandwich in Kent. It was originally known as Rutupiæ it is thought to be the landing site of the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43.

The fort shows many phases of construction during the Roman period and then evidence of Anglo-Saxon occupation. The earliest phase on the site built around AD43 are the defensive ditches that ring the site. Later, as the Roman foothold in the country became stronger the fort grew into a small town housing the civilians supporting the invasion.

By the year 100, the town was a large thriving settlement, the Romans built temples, an amphitheatre and a Mansio. The town also became a thriving port but was better known for its oysters.

The town was re-fortified in the 3rd century becoming a Saxon Shore Fort, one of a series of forts built along the English and French coasts to protect the country from the Saxons. The fort had an area of 5 acres and built in the typical Roman square with walls over 8 metres high.

When the Romans withdrew from England, the fort was taken over by the Saxons and used as a religious settlement.

Excavations carried out in late 2008 of an 90 metre section of Roman wall uncovered the original Roman Coastline along with the remains of a Medieval Dock. The discovery and excavation of the beach itself has pinpointed its geographical relationship to the site's earthworks, proving that the earthworks were a beachhead defence, protecting around 700 metres of coast. The site is now two and half miles inland from the current coastline.