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Posts Tagged ‘Fort

Lost Catterick

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A short but very visual post for you here. There follow a series of photos that have never been seen before of a site that will never be seen again. In 1959/1959 the A1 (Great North Road) was altered to create the Catterick Bypass. The new road was driven straight through the site of Roman Cataractonium, with the road itself passing just east of the fort walls, but cutting straight through the bath house and a substantial portion of the town that had grown up outside the fort. A season of rescue archaeology revealed a great deal of the Roman remains before they were completely destroyed by the new road, and unearthed some astounding artifacts that are now held in the Yorkshire Museum and the Richmondshire Museum. As it happens, my grandfather was both a professional photographer and a keen history enthusiast in the area at the time, and managed to photograph some of the work. The quality is not wonderful as they have been kept in a cupboard as slides for sixty years and I have had to be careful in converting the images, but still, grainy as they are, they represent a rare image of Roman archaeology now completely lost to us, and give some indication of how impressive what we have lost truly was. Enjoy…

Written by SJAT

January 13, 2021 at 11:21 am

Unsung sites to visit in Britain

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Here’s a quick Top #5 list of my favourite not generally well-known historical sites in Britain.

#5 – Aesica.

The Roman fort of Great Chesters on Hadrian’s Wall. Not under English Heritage control. Not covered in tourists gawking. Aesica is generally largely empty when I visit. Though the fort has not been excavated in the past century, somewhat dilapidates remains were consolidated after the 19th century excavation and are still visible (sections of wall, gates, internal buildings, the strong room.) Though overgrown and often being grazed by sheep, there is something I find magical and peaceful about Aesica and I always try to visit when I am in the area.

#4 – Jervaulx.

The cistercian ruins of Jervaulx Abbey are among the most evocative and beautiful anywhere in the world. The abbey is privately owned and payment is by honesty box. Again a serenely fantastic place. Go there early or late and you will likely be alone, which is the best way to wander among the breathtaking ruins. Combine a visit with a trip to the nearby Brymor Ice Cream place and you have the makings of an unforgettable day.

#3 – Whorlton Castle.

Close to the North Yorkshire Moors, near the A19 there is a hill covered in trees. From a certain angle on the road, you can catch a glimpse of the gatehouse of Whorlton castle. Turn off the road and pass through the village and go find it. Most of the castle lies as sad rubble at ground level among the tree roots, though the gate house stands proud and impressive. You will likely be alone to explore this absorbing little hill. Just down the lane is also a partially ruined church. A magical find.

#2 – Newminster Abbey.

Hardly anything remains of Newminster, standing buried in and entwined by the woods on the edge of Morpeth, Northumberland. A few small arcades, the occasional arch, scattered stonework across the ground. It is not easy to get to and therefore is rarely visited. Make the effort to climb the styles and cross the boggy ground, though. You will never find a more magical site than this. There is sommething almost fantasy, Elvish even about the arches and the tree roots. The place sends a shiver up my spine. Photograph courtesy of timojazz on flickr:

#1 – Hardknot.

The Roman name of this fort high on a mountain pass in the Lake District is not known. The fort seems to have been used for only 20 years. The walls are well preserved (with a little reconstructive help.) There are remains of various internal buildings, extramural baths, and even a parade ground with viewing mound that is higher up the hillside and requires a very wet, soggy climb. The fort is lovely, but it is the situation that really makes this something special and probably my #1 site to visit in Britain:

Written by SJAT

September 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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