If you are interested in learning a bit more about one of the largest Roman stations associated with historic Britain, then read further to encounter information on the Ardoch Roman Fort. Additionally, you will also find out what has been stored in the Castle Semple Collegiate Church that may pique your archeological interests.
Ardoch Roman Fort
Dunblane, Perthshire is the site where you will find the Ardoch Roman Fort. The story behind this attraction begins about 80 AD, where 40 years into history marks the start of construction for Hadrian’s Wall. At the time, a collection of forts and watchtowers were built along the Gask Ridge, which consisted of high ground that traveled between Perth and Dunblane.
During this time, the land and its structures were constantly changing. The frontier shifted. The Antonine Wall was built. Former Gask forts that were once abandoned now became reoccupied. One of the early Gask structures was called Ardoch Fort. It is believed that it was built around the same time of the Battle of Mons Graupius , a war that involved the Caledonians and the army of the Roman Governor of Britain, Gnaeus Julius Agricola. In the 140s, it was reoccupied and later became one of the largest Roman stations to thrive in Britain.
Keep in mind that when paying a visit to this site, you will not encounter any buildings, but what you will find is the remains of defensive earthworks that create a rather inviting sight to see.
Castle Semple Collegiate Church
Visit Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire and make a note to seek out the Castle Semple Collegiate Church, which involves the land of Robert and Thomas Sempill, who received their space as a reward for lending their support to Robert Bruce during his 14th century. In return, they became the owners of large tracts of land that once belonged to the family of John Balliol , a prominent figure during English and Scottish times who at one time became the joint protector of Alexander III , the young king of Scots. The Sempills also inherited the region located about Loch Winnoch.
Another Thomas within the Sempill family (of Eliotstoun) would later gain the estates of Loch Winnoch and when the Battle of Sauchieburn took his life in 1488, the land became the property of his son John. John then became known as ‘Lord Semple.’ In 1505, John Semple was in charge of building the Castle Semple, which was constructed at the eastern end of Loch Winnoch. Today, it is known as Castle Semple Loch. The loch shore also served as the site for the collegiate church that he founded.
The late Gothic style was attractive , showcasing a rectangular body and square tower. At the east end of the church, a three-sided apse (half-cone or half-dome) was present. As for the school liked to the church, it earned the reputation as one of the best in all of Scotland. At the eastern end of the church, John was laid to rest after he passed away at the battle of Flodden in 1513. The body of the church is also home to the tombstone of one of his kin (Gabriel Semple), who died in 1587. A handful of 19th century graves are also located at the church.