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Richborough Roman Fort, Kent

Updated Tuesday 1st August 2006

Richborough Castle - PORTVS RVTVPIAE - is known as the gateway to Roman Britain.

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Richborough Castle Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team

The site of the fort is thought to be one of the first landing points for the invasion force in AD 43. Although now marooned inland, several miles from the sea, it was once a coastal fort, provided with a sheltered harbour. Inside the fort, you can still see the ditches that the invading Romans dug to protect both themselves and their supplies from the local people.

Once the Romans were established, and safe from marauding Britons, Richborough became Britain's main port of entry. You can still see the remains of a triumphal arch, dating from the 1st century, which marks the start of Watling Street, the main road to London and the north of the province. It was probably built in order to impress early visitors to the province.

More impressive, however, are the high protective walls, built two hundred years later, in order to protect the shores of Britain from invasion from the sea. Richborough is one of a number of Saxon Shore Forts built on the South Coast, marking the difficult times experienced across the huge Roman Empire in the third and fourth centuries, as it found itself increasingly under attack from barbarian pirates.

Richborough Castle is located 1.5 miles NW of Sandwich, off the A257.

 

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