Ravenglass Roman Bath House

Ravenglass Roman Bath House (also known as Walls Castle) is one of a few surviving structures from a 2nd century Roman fort and naval base. Described by Matthew Hyde in his update to the Pevsner Guide to Cumbria as "an astonishing survival", the still standing walls are 13 ft (4 m) high. Known to the Romans as Glannoventa, the bath house is located to the north east of the fort.

Excavations were carried out at the bath house in 1881. The remaining fragment appears to be the west end of a building which was about 12 metres wide and about 27 metres long (see plan). It consisted of a suite of rooms arranged in a double sequence along the building. The entrance and changing area (apodyterium) contains niches, perhaps originally for statues. The use of the other rooms is not known, but there would have been a range of warm rooms, a hot bath and a cold plunge. Remains of the hypocaust heating system were uncovered in 1881 but they have since been reburied.

The walls bear patches of the internal rendering, in dull red and white cement, and traces of the splayed window openings remain. The north and south walls have external buttresses which were probably intended to take the weight of a vaulted roof.

Roman Fort

The fort's defences were originally of turf and timber, although in the early 3rd century a stone wall was constructed. The fort appears to have been occupied continuously from AD 130 until the end of the 4th century.

Today the bath house is in state care, and is managed by English Heritage. Access is via a private road which runs adjacent to a nearby caravan park. The ditch of the fort is also visible, but this is on private land and is bisected by the railway tracks of the Cumbrian Coast Line.

Building Activity

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