Brecon Gaer Roman Fort
Brecon Gaer Roman Fort
Brecon Gaer, also known as Y Gaer, is an early Roman fort, begun about 75 AD near the River Usk. The perimeter wall with corner turrets is still preserved, and the gateways still show the holes where the gate-pivots hung. Finds from Brecon Gaer can be viewed at the Brecknock Museum in Brecon.
The first fort at Y Gaer was a simple affair, protected by banks made of clay, topped by a wooden palisade. Inside the enclosure was a stable building and quarters for auxiliary troops of the Vettonian cavalry from Spain. In the late 2nd century the fort was rebuilt in stone by the Second Augustan Legion and repaired in the 4th century. Outside the wall was a ditch 1 metre deep and nearly 9 metres across.

The fort layout is a rectangle with an entrance in the centre of each side and a turret at each corner. The interior of the fort has been excavated, and the major buildings laid bare. The most impressive building is the Principia, the legion headquarters, with a small shrine and a storage place for the legion's eagle standards, and an underground chamber for valuable items - such as pay coffers! Nearby is the Preatorium, where the camp commander lived.

Near the Principia was a granary, and there is a bathhouse in the north west corner, with 4 hot and warm rooms, several unheated chambers, and a cold plunge bath. East of the Principium were the barracks. Outside the fort was a civilian settlement, or vicus, with workshops, and a mansio; an imposing official residence used by both the Imperial Post and by visiting officials.

Several carved gravestones have been found near the fort. One commemorates a cavalryman named Candidus, one is a memorial to Valerius Primus, and the third shows a couple, carved life-sized.

Getting to Brecon Gaer is not simple, as the site is not signposted from the surrounding roads. From Brecon take the road to Cradoc, then turn left to Aberyscir, and left once more at the first crossing. The road ends in a farmyard and the fort is beyond the farmyard. This is private land, so please park with care and consideration.