In 1761 General Roy, searching for the Trimontium of Ptolemy, which, following the forged itinerary ascribed to Richard of Cirencester, he expected to find somewhere on the line of road between Carlisle and the Antonine Wall, was struck by the configuration of the Eildon Hills and the track of 'the Watling Street' advancing directly towards them, and was thus led to conjecture that hereabouts Trimontium was situated. He had an examination made of the ground in the neighbourhood of the hills, 'and in consequence of this search some imperfect traces of an entrenchment were perceived at the village of Eildon situated near the eastern skirt of the hill. These vestiges, which are to be seen near the south-west angle of the village on the east of the Roman way, were further observed in 1771; but, it must be owned, were found by much too slight to decide absolutely the point in question. Nevertheless, from all the circumstances taken together, the aspect of the hills, corresponding exactly with the name, two Roman ways leading towards them, and particularly from the traces of that which hath gone from Carlisle, whether it was ever finished or not, yet along which the ninth iter of Richard seems to have proceeded, there is surely good reason to believe that this ancient Trimontium of the Romans was situated somewhere near these remarkable hills, at the village of Eildon, Old Melrose, or perhaps about Newstead, where the Watling Street hath passed the Tweed.'[1] It is evident from this passage that before the end of the eighteenth century the fort which Milne had failed to distinguish must have been too completely effaced for even Roy's practised eye to detect.

The Disappearance of the Ruins

The demolition has indeed been complete, and although the work of destruction has been continued within the last fifty years as opportunity occurred, it is beyond doubt that the great bulk of the material must have been removed at a comparatively remote date. We have no records of any portion of the buildings being visible above ground, except in the name Red Abbeystead. This, though cited by Milne as indicating an Abbey, is merely the name of one of the fields in which the Roman remains now lie buried. There is no reason to believe that any Abbey ever stood here, and the appellation dates probably from days when some fragments of red sandstone ruins were still visible here, and were thought by the country folk to be ruins of an Abbey. Probably long before Milne wrote his history, or Roy embarked upon his survey,

1 Roy, The Military Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain (London, 1793), p. 116.