Dere Street or Deere Street is a modern designation of a Roman road
which ran north from
Eboracum (York), crossing
Stanegate at Corbridge
Hadrian's Wall was crossed at the Portgate, just to the north) and
continuing beyond into what is now Scotland, later at least as far as
the Antonine Wall. Portions of its route are still followed by modern
roads, including the A1 (south of the River Tees) and the A68 north of
1.1 "Watling Street"
2 Roman route
3 Modern route
5 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
The Roman name for the route is lost. Its English name corresponds
with the post-Roman Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira, through which the
first part of its route lies. That kingdom possibly took its name from
the Yorkshire River Derwent. The term "street" derives from its Old
English sense (from Latin: via strata), which referred to any paved
road and had no particular association with urban thoroughfares.
Portions of the road in
Scotland were later known as
St Cuthbert's Way and as the Royal Way (Medieval Latin: Via
The Roman equivalent of Watling Street, the Antonine Itinerary's 2nd
British route, shared Dere Street's trunk road between
Cataractonium (Catterick) before branching off to the northwest to
Luguvalium (Carlisle). Owing to this, some stretches
or the entirety of
Dere Street is sometimes referenced as "Watling
Street". It should not, however, be confused with the traditional
Wroxeter in the south nor with the
Carlisle route to its west.
A map of the Roman north c. 84, including
Dere Street between
Veluniate near Camelon
As far as
Dere Street roughly corresponds to the
Antonine Itinerary's 1st British route, which however began further
York and ended at the Wall:
Route I of the Antonine Itinerary
From the border—that is, from the Wall—unto Praetorium,
156 Roman miles.
6th Victorious Leg.,
As the text implies, the road served to allow the legion garrisoned in
York quick access to the eastern borderlands and, later, the eastern
posts on Hadrian's Wall. The Itinerary's 2nd and 5th British
routes—which split off to reach the western territories—share the
Eboracum and Cataractonium. The forts along the roads
were manned by infantry cohorts and cavalry alae of the Roman army's
Margary notes that the last entry is probably in error and should be
emended to 10 Roman miles.
Dere Street at Brompton-on-Swale
The modern route omits the now-lost road south of York but
continues farther north along
Roman roads either omitted by the
compiler of the Antonine Itineraries or constructed after his time.
The route begins at
York and crosses the
River Ure near Aldborough
close to Boroughbridge.[clarification needed] It crosses the Swale
near Catterick. (The ruins of
Cataractonium lie just north of
Catterick at Scotch Corner.) The
A66 road preserves the route of the
Roman-era Watling Street, branching off here to cross Stainmore to
Penrith and Carlisle at the western end of Hadrian's Wall.
Remains thought to represent the old
Roman bridge over the Tees
Dere Street crossed the
River Tees over a stone arch bridge near the
Piercebridge Roman Fort
Piercebridge Roman Fort ruins. Such bridges were rare in
Roman Britain except for here in the far north. The original bridge
was replaced by one on a different alignment. There is evidence of
other minor realignments of
Dere Street over the Roman period. In
1994, construction of a garage at Cliffe exposed a section of the
Roman road and discovered pottery and tile from the period.
Selkirk suggested that the ruins on the south side of the Tees at
Cliffe are the remains of a jetty; the archaeological television
Time Team investigated this in 2009.[clarification
Dere Street at Esh Winning
The next river crossing occurred over the Wear near present-day Bishop
Auckland. At this point, the fort
Vinovia guarded a branch road
that turned off to the right heading for Durham, Chester-le-Street,
and Newcastle. There, the
Pons Aelius crossed the River Tyne.
Dere Street, meanwhile, travels onward past Lanchester and Ebchester,
the sites of the former forts of
Longovicium and Vindomora. At Coria
(modern Corbridge), it met the
Stanegate road which runs parallel to
Hadrian's Wall. 
Dere Street were originally the
same width (roughly 7.7 m or 25 ft) but the depth of
metalling on Stanegate—72 cm (28 in) against Dere Street's
30 cm (12 in)—argues for a greater frequency of
resurfacing and for greater or heavier traffic. Crossing at
Corbridge, the route passed though Portgate on the Wall and passed
into lands only tenuously claimed by Rome.
Iron Age hill fort associated with
Dere Street at Pennymuir
The route passes north into
Redesdale and thence into the Cheviot
Hills, where there are the remains of marching forts at Fourlaws, West
Woodburn (Habitancum), Rochester (Bremenium), and at Chew Green.
Brementium was the last stop listed for Antonine Itinerary, but the
Roman road's remains now lead further, past the present Anglo-Scottish
border at Carter Fell near the present A68 road. Nearby, there are the
remains of a camp at Pennymuir. Further on, well-preserved
sections of the road form part of St Cuthbert's Way to Trimontium
near Melrose. There, the route crosses the Tweed and follows the
Leader Water to the foot of the Lammermuirs, where there is evidence
of Roman forts near Oxton. Another well-preserved section rises
Lammermuirs over Soutra Hill and on to Edinburgh, where
Din Eidyn was a stronghold for the British
Votadini tribe. Nearby, the
Romans held garrisons at
Inveresk at the eastern end of
the Antonine Wall.
Dere Street close to the Scottish Border
During the High Middle Ages, the section of the route between Jedburgh
Edinburgh was known as the Royal Way (Latin: Via Regia). It
connected the larger part of
Scotland with the important ecclesiastic
sites of the Scottish Borders. King Malcolm IV established his Church
and Hospital of the Holy Trinity halfway along this section to provide
succour for the many pilgrims using it.
After the destruction of the Border Abbeys during the "Rough Wooing"
of Mary, Queen of Scots, by the Earl of Hertford's forces and during
the Reformation of the Scottish Church, the route fell into disuse and
disrepair. It was used mainly for driving livestock and occasional
travellers daring enough to venture into the lawless border
Storing olives on Dere Street; Tacuinum Sanitatis, 14th century
Dere Street continued in use between Durham and
York in medieval
times. Being limited by daylight, "about thirty miles in a day in
winter on horseback and between thirty-six and forty in summer was
what a man could do." Tough, vigorous men could walk from Darlington
to York, and it was said that the quality of a horse could make the
difference between a possible thirty and fifty miles per day. A wish
to hear mass or the organisation of a train by the rich could shorten
the travelling day to twenty miles. Roads were described as so muddy
and difficult between November and February that to finish the journey
by daylight one could barely stop to eat; however a "royal highway" or
alta via regia strata was passable in winter between
York and Durham,
and this could have been Dere Street. Heavy packhorse loads were taken
on the route, for example 20 stone (130 kg) of wool. Clerics,
traders and the nobility were more likely to travel than others, and
some people rarely travelled at all. Travelling in style involved the
use of carts for luggage, but carts bogged down in winter mud, so
traders with packhorses travelled more easily in winter than the
Piercebridge Roman Bridge
Roman roads in Britain
Legg's cross on
Dere Street near Bolam in County Durham
Dere Street at Bildershaw, County Durham
Wheelbirks bridge, near Hindley, Northumberland
Milestone at West Woodburn, Northumberland
Dere Street at Bonjedward, Scottish Borders
Dere Street at Crailinghall, Scottish Borders
Dere Street at Maxton, Scottish Borders
Dere Street at Gilston, Scottish Borders
^ Itinerarium Antonini Augusti. Hosted at
Latin Wikisource. (in Latin)
^ Togodumnus (2011). "The Antonine Itinerary".
Roman Britain Online.
Archived from the original on 18 September 2015. Retrieved 20 February
2015. (in Latin) & (in English)
^ Margary, Ivan Donald (1973). Roman Roads in Britain (3rd ed.).
London: John Baker. ISBN 9780212970018.
^ Togodumnus (2010). "Praesidivm/Praetorivm? Probable Roman Fort and
Roman Britain Online. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
^ Margary, cited at
Roman Britain Online.
^ Davies, Hugh (2002). Roman Roads in Britain. Stroud.
pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-7524-2503-X.
^ Hayton, Richard (2003). "Yorkshire History.com". Roman military
sites in Yorkshire. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
^ Davies, p. 93.
^ a b "1".
^ "Heritage Gateway". Listed buildings online, and local records.
Archived from the original on 25 September 2005. Retrieved 11 January
^ NY SMR Number MNY12855; Old Sites & Monuments Record Number
12975.10000; Grid Reference NZ 212,155; SNY8056 Field recording Form,
North Yorkshire County Council 15 November 1994, George Hotel
Dere Street Cottage), Campling, N. NYCC Observation
^ Selkirk, Raymond (2000).
Chester-le-Street & Its Place in
History. Birtley, County Durham: Casdec Print & Design Centre.
pp. 93–122. ISBN 1-900456-05-2.
^ Lloyd, Chris (2 July 2009). "The Northern Echo". Piercebridge: Time
Team investigates. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012.
Retrieved 12 January 2010.
^ Laurie, Barbara (2005). "bishopaucklandhistory.co.uk". A Short
History of Bishop Auckland. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
^ "Pastscape, English Heritage".
Dere Street Investigation History.
Publications : Full report Proceedings of the Society of
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne 2/1925/12:94-6. Retrieved 16
^ Bishop, M.C. "Durham.ac.uk resources" (PDF). Corbridge
(archaeological resources). Retrieved 16 January 2010.
^ Davies, p. 57.
^ a b "BBC".
Dere Street – From
York to Melrose in Seven Days. 10
June 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
Pennymuir camps under snow".
^ "Historic Scotland".
Dere Street Roman Road. Retrieved 16 January
^ Hunter, James, FSA (Scot)., Fala and Soutra, including a History of
the Ancient "Domus de Soltre", Edinburgh, 1892.
^ Scotways.com. "Heritage Paths". Dere Street. Retrieved 16 January
^ Harvey, Margaret M. (March 2005). "Travel from Durham to
back) in the fourteenth century" (PDF). Northern History. Durham
University Library. 1 (XLII): 119–130. Retrieved 16 January
The Roads of Mediaeval Lauderdale, by R. P. Hardie,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dere Street.
A look at some of the ancient roads passing through East Lothian,
including a section of Dere Street
Dere Street – From
York to Melrose in Seven Days
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Coordinates: 55°03′24″N 2°03′56″W / 55.0566°N