The Scarborough News
What the Romans left for us ...
While York was a major city in the Roman Empire, little is known about their use of the Yorkshire coast.
A Roman signal station was discovered in the grounds of Scarborough Castle during the partial excavation of the site between 1920 and 1924, which are now laid out for the public to view. The station was part of a string of lookouts along the coast in the
4th century AD to warn of invaders. Other stations are recorded at Huntcliff, Goldsborough, Ravenscar and Filey, while, at Whitby, Roman material found suggests that there was a sixth outpost.
The signal station in Scarborough comprised a square, ditched enclosure with rounded corners and small angle bastions. It had a diameter of 33m and enclosed a small courtyard containing a double-stepped plinth which formed the base for a central tower between 27m and 30m high. The signal tower was built of wood but had stone foundations and was guarded by a gatehouse that controlled the entrance into the courtyard. Roman coins found in the castle grounds show the station was built in c. AD 370 and occupied almost continuously until the early 5th century when it was overrun and destroyed. A well-known Roman site in the North York Moors is the Cawthorn military complex at Cropton, near Pickering. Long considered a group of military practise camps, it is now clear that the well-preserved earthwork remains include two forts, one with an annexe, together with a temporary camp.