A ROMAN town at Stamford Bridge has been scheduled as an ancient monument – recognising it as being of national importance.

The town, believed to have been called Derventio, was founded in around AD70, when the Romans first advanced into the area, and grew throughout the Roman period up until the fourth century.

It was first identified in 1736 by surgeon and antiquarian Francis Drake, but was forgotten about until the hot summer of 1976 revealed crop markings.

It has been scheduled by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. The move gives the site legal protection against disturbance or unlicensed metal detecting and written consent must always be obtained before any work on a scheduled monument can begin.

Much of the town is now ploughed farmland, but aerial photographs have revealed a road junction and property boundaries, with the town extending both sides of the river.

Archaeologists believe that a wide range of Roman remains have survived beneath the fields which could help in understanding more about Roman Britain. There have been many small-scale archaeological investigations since the 1990s. Significant finds, including a bathhouse and extensive evidence of a Roman pottery industry, hint at how important the town once was.

Eric Branse-Instone, Designation Adviser at English Heritage, said: “The town is a good illustration of the importance of river transport to the Roman economy. The stony ford across the Derwent (hence the medieval name Stamford) was a block to navigation and the settlement would have been a transhipment point for shipping upstream to Malton and with the Roman roads crossing the river.”