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Deva - Roman Fortress at Chester


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Deva - Roman Fortress at Chester

Located at the estuary of the River Dee the Roman Fortress was ideally placed at the highest navigable part of the Dee to act as a base for maritime operations in the Irish sea and to control the border between the Ordovician tribes in north Wales and the Brigantes in the north of England.

First occupied by Legio II Adiutrix during Agricola's term as Governor and then by Legio XX Valeria Victrix after the Second Legion was withdrawn to the continent.

The Fortress was initially built from timber and, from around AD90 onwards, was rebuilt using stone. The fortress was virtually abandoned during the second century but was reoccupied and restored around the beginning of the third century.

Like most Roman Military settlements Deva attracted many tradesmen and merchants eager to take advantage of the trade generated by the extensive harbour facilities, the Legionnaires and local tribes; and a town quickly grew up around the fortress.

The Romans made great use of the sea to support their land activities and Chester was their main base on the northwest coast of Britain. It is thought that one of the reasons that Chester became so important was it's potential for supporting a possible invasion of Ireland.

The fortress was completely abandoned by the fourth century during which time the Romans generally withdrew their military forces to defend territories elsewhere on the continent.