The remains of Richborough Roman Fort
Richborough shown within Kent
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||South Thanet|
Although now some distance from the sea, Richborough stood at the southern end of the Wantsum Channel from prehistory to the early mediaeval period. The channel provided a safe searoute from the continent to the Thames estuary and separated the Isle of Thanet from the mainland.
The channel has now silted up; prior to this, Richborough was an important natural harbour and was the landing place of the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. Until October 2008 there was uncertainty whether this was the site of the Claudian invasion of Britain; two ditches at the site which have been dated to the Roman period were interpreted as defensive structures, however some archaeologists had favoured the theory that the landing took place in the vicinity of modern-day Chichester. The 2008 discovery proved that this was a defensive site of a Roman beachhead, protecting 700 metres of coast.
Roman and Saxon history
The site is managed by English Heritage who run historical events on the site throughout the summer.
Secret Harbour of 1916
During the First World War the capacity of Dover and other nearby ports was found to be inadequate, and a major harbour was constructed at Richborough. Its purpose was to provide the B.E.F. with its heavy equipment (tanks, guns, railway locomotives, ammunition, horses and fuel). By 1918 it had become a very large site, occupying 2000 acres and capable of handling 20,000 tons of traffic each week.
Richborough Power Station
The Richborough Power Station was opened, within the port, in 1962 burning coal as its fuel. Then in 1971 it was converted to run on oil before it was finally converted again to burn the controversial fuel Orimulsion during the final years of operation. Orimulsion is an emulsion originating from the Orinoco Basin, which was offloaded here. The plant closed down in 1996, but much of it remained in situ until the demolition of the three cooling towers on 11 March 2012. A new Energy Park is planned for the site, including a Diesel Peak Generator.
- Bushe-Fox J. P., Third report on the excavations of the Roman fort at Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press; London: The Society of Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 10, 1932 (BSA)
- Bushe-Fox J. P., Fourth report on the excavations of the Roman fort at Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press; London: The Society of Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 16, 1949 (BSA)
- Cunliffe B. W., Fifth report on the excavations of the Roman fort at Richborough, Kent, Oxford: The University Press: for the Society of Antiquaries, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 23, 1968 (BSA)
- Johnston D. E., The Saxon Shore, London: Council for British Archaeology, CBA Research Report 18, 1977
- Robert Butler, Sandwich Haven and Richborough Port, Sandwich Local History Society, 1996
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richborough.|
- Album Richborough, stoa.org
- Richborough Roman Fort page at English Heritage
- "Richborough". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 1922.