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Entry compiled by Mike Haken                   

La© Mike Haken & RRRA, 2017st updated, 2 June 2017

Gazetteer & Index Questions to be Answered Margary's Road Numbering The Antonine Itineraries



Margary Number:

Norton-on-Derwent - Bainton Bridlington


Other Numbering System:


Historic Counties:

Historic Environment Records, HE Pastscape and other online records

East Riding of Yorkshire, North Riding of Yorkshire

N. Yorks. HER MNY2359

Humber HER MNY7657 Roman road Malton - Bainton

HE Pastscape Mon.1111111

Roman Sites on Route:

Malton / Norton



Xx Miles

Bidwell, P., Hodgson, N, 2009; The Roman Army in Northern England

Buglass, J. , Phillips, J, Wilson P.R. , Report on the Excavations at Brooklyn, Norton., forthcoming

Codrington, Thomas, 1903; Roman Roads in Britain, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London

Margary, Ivan D., 1973; Roman Roads in Britain, John Baker, London

Pastscape Mon no. 59554, accessed 31/5/17

Toller, Hugh, 2012; ‘Current Research into Roman Roads in Yorkshire Based on Lidar Evidence’ in ‘Forum’ Vol 1 pp 7-11: CBA Yorkshire , York

Fig. 3 Possible surviving agger at Kennel Farm, SE 777 664

Fig.4. Lidar image showing RR81a and other possible road features south west of Norton

Fig.6. Photograph of concrete substructure to RR81a revealed at Brooklyn House, Norton in 2017. The trench is 1m wide.

It is still generally thought that the Roman route out of York to Stamford Bridge ran along a low ridge on the same course as the modern A166, and is marked as such on the current Ordnance Survey map of Roman Britain (OS, 2011). In fact, it seems probable that that the southern ridgeway route was a later alternative route, avoiding low ground prone to flooding; the original line of the direct road to Bridlington being further north.

That a road left the north east gate of the York’s legionary fortress and crossed the R. Foss close to the current Monk Bridge is pretty much beyond doubt (RCHM 1962). The Royal Commission on Historic Monuments  labelled this Road 4 of their eleven  roads approaching York (RCHM 1962), the supposed direct route to Malton through Stockton on the Forest, which Margary numbered RR800. Heworth Green (A1036) probably follows its course for nearly half a mile, and where the modern Malton road bears north, a Roman line probably carried straight on approximating to Stockton Lane. At some point, the road is assumed to have forked, RR800 carrying on to Malton, and RR810 bearing towards Gate Helmsley and Stamford Bridge.

One point to poinder is whether the road from the NE gate of York may be better considered as part of RR810, especially as the existence of the “direct” road to Malton is far from certain and RR810 was clearly important, judging from its width. In 1959 during excavations on Apple Tree Farm, Heworth in 1959 (Wright 1960), a road some 9m wide was discovered (later widened twice to over 15m), which the RCHM labelled Road 3. Unfortunately Ivan Margary, in his account of RR810 (Margary, 1973, p.421), appears to have been unaware of it and as a result popular perception remained that the road to Bridlington branched from RR81a (York to Malton) half a mile north east of Gate Helmsley. The road past the Apple Tree Farm excavations can just be made out on a Google Earth image from 2005, showing as a fairly indistinct linear cropmark (possibly less clear because of the widening and recutting of ditches), although the straight line of the southern ditch is quite well marked either side of the A64 (fig. 1).

Maule Cole remarked that the road from Stamford Bridge to Bridlington had “greater claims to antiquity than any other of similar length in the East Riding for it forms the boundary between adjacent parishes throughout its course” (Maule Cole 1899). This statement is correct, as far as it goes, but does not of course mean that the entire road is Roman. In fact, the discovery from aerial photos in the 1970s of the road from York (fig. 3) heading almost due east, strongly suggests that the A166 almost certainly isn’t Roman in origin, despite being still marked as such on Ordnance Survey maps. It seems more likely that the Roman route ran near Full Sutton and Youlthorpe (although there is no evidence from Lidar or aerial photos), and was replaced by a medieval road (now the A166) as far as the bottom of Garrowby Hill. From Stamford Bridge to this point, the modern road is far from straight in any sense, and has only been identified as Roman from the presence of Street Farm, “street” being formerly taken to indicate a Roman road, whereas we now know that it could be used for any major medieval route in northern England..

Fig. 2 Google Earth aerial photo from 2005, showing indistinct cropmarks of RR810 east of York.

Fig. 3 Aerial photo of cropmarks looking east along RR810 showing the roadside settlement of Derventio (Stamford Bridge). RR81a can be seen branching off north eastwards.