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OLERICA (Ilkley) Yorkshire, England.

Originally a Flavian fort mentioned by Ptolemy and the Ravenna Cosmography, which together with Slack and Elslack was founded by Agricola to subdue the Brigantes. It stands on the S bank of the river Wharf and has streams (now running in underground conduits) as natural defenses on E and W. It stands on the trans-Pennine road from Manchester down the Wharf to Tadcaster and York. Numerous tile stamps show it was occupied by Cohors XXII of the Lingones, a cohort raised from the Gallic tribe of which Langres was the capital. This was a cohort quingenaria, an infantry cohort with a paper strength of 360 with 120 mounted men. The cohort remained at Ilkley until the 3d c. when it was moved to Whitehaven in Cumberland, which was threatened by an invasion from Ireland. There is an altar dedicated to VEROGIA (probably the river Wharf) by the prefect Clodius Fronto.

A considerable civilian settlement grew up S and E of the fort, but finds have been scattered and casual. The defenses have been destroyed, but excavation showed that the first fort had a clay rampart on a bedding of river pebbles; this was succeeded in the time of Trajan by a stone wall, which was later rebuilt with better material. There were four gates with guardrooms, the gates of the Flavian fort being of wood. The interior of the fort has been largely destroyed by the mediaeval church and manor house, but remains of the headquarters building, a granary, and the commandant's house have been found.

The headquarters building was square, with offices around a courtyard. It was in the usual place in the middle of the via principalis, joining the N and S gates and facing down the via praetoria which led to the main E gate. The granary to the N was rectangular (23.4 x 9 m) with internal partitions running the length of the building and stout buttresses. The commandant's house, 1.8 m to the N, in its first phase was a rectangular stone house (19.8 x 7.8 m), replacing an earlier wooden one. It was subsequently widened, and in its last form a suite of baths was added to the W end.

In the 4th c. some irregular paving was laid over the fort, unassociated with any buildings.


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