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Melandra Castle

Melandra Castle

The Roman Fort of Ardotalia was first occupied around 75-80AD. It was rebuilt early in the 2nd Century. It guards the ancient route across the Pennine range near Glossop in the Derbyshire Peak District.


Melandra Castle was still in use during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-137AD), but was eventually abandoned around 150AD. Subsequently the site was badly damaged and erosion robbed part of the site to the valley floor. In the 18th century an inscribed stone was found which read 'First cohort of Frisiavonians the century of Valerius Vitalis' - this is assumed to be the soldiers who rebuilt the fort, the inscription indicating that they were Frisians from North Germany.

What remains today is basically the layout, it having gained the name "Castle" at some time during antiquity. The main thing that makes this site worth visiting is the view up the valley to the High Peaks which is quite breathtaking.

Melandra Castle's position is a good one, situated on a bluff overlooking the Etherow and commanding the route into the Longendale Valley. Archaeological research has indicated that this was probably just a part of a network of defences designed to control the east-west route over the Pennines. The visible remains are a disappointment though - all that can be seen is a low rampart enclosing a rectangular area of approximately 3 acres, with the foundations of the main buildings just visible in the centre.

Melandra Castle is on public land. (SK 009951)

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