CilurnumChesters

The Bath House
The Bath House

This fort is one of the most interesting along the Wall. It has an extremely well preserved bath house (upon which the fully operational bath house at Segedunum is based) and an abutment which once supported a large bridge across the Tyne. The abutment, however, is across the river from the fort though a short drive gets you there in no time and a short stretch of the Wall is also visible so is well worth the small inconvenience. Back on the fort side the abutment is submerged because the river has changed course slightly from the time of the Romans. Excavations have been carried out very recently here too.

The parts of the fort excavated and on show are all fenced off with gates allowing easy access and these are not locked in any way. Sheep used to graze in the fort grounds but over the last two visits I have made to this site I have not noticed them so unless it is coincidental the grounds may be closed off to them, hence the reason for the fencing in the recent past. The remains on show here are exceptional and the site must be one to be counted on any itinerary. Several buildings are on show including the Headquarters Building, Barrack Blocks, Bath House, Commanding Officer’s House and Gates. A fine example of a strongroom in the Headquarters Building is easy to find and it still has its original stone ceiling.

The Strongroom
The Strongroom

The Headquarters Building is almost twice the size of the one at Housesteads and thus was extremely important. The courtyard had a veranda on three sides and the supporting columns for this can still be seen today along with a paving stone in the North West corner which still shows a large phallus!As in other forts the Strongroom is where the soldier’s savings and pay etc was kept and this room was always below street level.

Near to the river is the Bath House and this is very well preserved and is the best example of this type of fort building anywhere in Britain. The cubby holes where soldiers would possibly change ready for their routine clean are excellently well preserved as is the stoke hole to the side of the building. I recently saw three young children disappear into the latter while playing so it is not blocked inside... they were OK when they re-emerged and unphased by the looks some people gave them when they themselves were surprised that three kids could crawl inside a tiny opening such as it is!

Garrisons known at on StreetMap Streetmap Logo link to OS map

EraGarrison
Hadrianala Augusta ob virtutem appellata †
Marcus_Aureliusno evidence
Piusauxiliary regiment (146) †
Commodus(Ulpius Marcellus governor): ala II Asturum †
3rd_Centuryala II Asturum (205-8) †
Notitia_Dignitatumala II Asturum †
1st_NoteThe inscriptions under Pius of II Augusta are building inscriptions (RIB 1460 - 61) and do not prove that a detachment of the legion was in garrison. On the other hand the diploma of 146 found at the fort suugests stongly that there was an auxiliary regiment in garrison then. The tombstone to the daughter of a commanding officer of cohors I Vangionum (RIB 1482) is not easily explained as a death on a visit to the fort, and the wife’s nomen Aurelia suggests a date not earlier than 161. The cohors I Delmatarum is also recorded at the fort, and must have been in garrison at some time in the second century.