Scotlands History

Trimontium - Newstead Roman fort

Trimontium (the place of three mountains), a massive Roman fort at Newstead near Melrose, was the Roman military headquarters for the south of Scotland.

It was a key position overlooking the river Tweed, and the site resembled a wheel with roads radiating out in all directions. The fort itself was built and rebuilt many times, and the garrison numbered between 2000 and 5000 at any one time.

A frontier town spread around the fort to house artisans, suppliers and traders.

The principal buildings were laid out in a strict pattern within the fort: the headquarters was the ‘Principia’; nearby was the Commandant’s house and the officers’ homes – all with the luxury of under-floor heating. There were also barracks, a granary with enough grain for a year, stables and a drill hall. The workshop and baths were built outside the ramparts in case of fire.

The Romans abandoned Trimontium as a permanent base around AD 185.

  • A photograph of scale armour found at Trimontium Roman fort

Click on the image to view a larger version.