Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Richborough, also known as Richborough Castle, is an ancient Roman site located in Kent, England.

King Arthur landed at this port upon his return from the Roman campaign. Mordred, who had usurped the throne, met him there with an army. Many men fell – including Angusel (Auguselus) and Gawain – and Mordred’s army was pushed back to the river Camel. It was the first of the three final battles fought by Arthur, on each occasion defeating his usurping nephew, Mordred.

Wace places this battle at Romney.

Richborough | History

Roman Fort and Port
Richborough was originally established as a Roman fort, likely around AD 43, during the early stages of the Roman conquest of Britain. It was known as Rutupiae in Latin. The site’s location near the estuary of the River Stour made it an ideal location for a Roman port, connecting the continent with the Roman Britain.

Saxon Shore Fort
Richborough was one of the forts built as part of the Saxon Shore forts network, a defensive line constructed to protect the southeastern coast of Roman Britain from Saxon raids. The fort at Richborough underwent several phases of construction and expansion during its use as a Saxon Shore fort.

Triumpal Arch
One of the notable features at Richborough is a triumphal arch, often referred to as the Richborough Roman Triumphal Arch. This structure was built to commemorate the visit of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 43.

Decline and Abandonment
As the Roman Empire faced internal and external challenges, including the decline of the Roman influence in Britain, Richborough’s importance diminished. The fort was abandoned during the fifth century as Roman control waned, and Britain underwent significant political and social changes.

Archaeological Excavations
Richborough has been the subject of extensive archaeological excavations, revealing insights into Roman military and civilian life. Excavations have uncovered remains of the Roman fort, the triumphal arch, and evidence of structures from different periods. The site is considered a histroically important site, offering a glimpse into the Roman presence in Britain and its military and economic activities.

Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138