auxiliary fort at Fendoch, 8 km NE of Crieff, lies at
the mouth of the Sma' Glen, guarding an important natural route to the upper Tay valley. It was one of a series
of forts built by Agricola, probably in A.D. 83, to protect
Strathearn and Strathmore from invasion by the Highland tribes, but it was evacuated and systematically demolished after only a few years' occupation.
Today there are virtually no surface traces of the fort,
but excavation in 1936-38 showed that it was defended
by a turf rampart 5.1 m thick, and one or two ditches;
internally it measured 169.2 by 88.5 m, its proportions
adapted to the site. The four gateways were all of timber.
Three of them had twin towers flanking a carriageway
31.5 m wide, while the S gate, which led to an annex,
had a single tower over the gateway passage. The internal buildings were also of timber, and the complete plan
was recovered by tracing the foundation trenches and
post-holes. In the center was the principia (24 x 30 m,
including a front portico). It comprised a colonnaded
forecourt flanked by long rooms, probably armamentaria;
a cross-hall; and, at the back, the regimental chapel and
four other rooms. On the left of the principia was the
praetorium (20.4 x 30 m externally), consisting of a
series of rooms ranged around an open court. The side
wings were occupied by service quarters and bedrooms,
while the dining room was at the rear. On the right of
the principia was a pair of granaries (each 16.8 x 9 m).
The floors were carried on cross-beams at intervals of
0.9-1.5 m, thus allowing ample space for the circulation
of air. It is thought that each granary contained 10 bins,
one for each of the 10 cohorts in the garrison, and that
altogether they held more than a year's supply of corn.
Behind the principal buildings, and fronting on the via
quintana, were a hospital and several smaller buildings,
probably workshops or cart sheds. The hospital (31.8 x
12 m) consisted of a long central corridor with eight
rooms on one side, and a ward or reception hall flanked
by offices on the other. The rest of the space within the
fort was occupied by 10 barracks for a cohors milliaria,
and by two long sheds, one on either side of the via
praetoria. The barracks were of uniform design, a typical
example measuring 46.2 by 9.6 m. At one end the centurion's quarters occupied the whole width of the building for 10.2 m, and the remaining 51 m were devoted to
10 mess units with a verandah in front. A longitudinal
partition divided the mess units into vestibules for kit,
and inner rooms for living quarters.
No angle towers or interval towers were found, but five
ovens were discovered at the back of the rampart, and
their disposition in relation to the barracks makes it evident that each century originally had one oven. Since it
was not practicable to dig wells, water was brought to
the fort by a wooden pipeline, using a siphon system to
overcome the rise in the ground as the pipe approached
the defenses; once inside the fort, the water was distributed in pipes or open wooden gutters to tanks installed
below ground level. The finds are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland.
On the S side of the road to Amulree, 1.2 km W of
the fort, a small signal station, commanded the view up
the Sma' Glen.
Proc. Soc. Ant. Scotland
73 (1939) 110-54P
K. A. STEER