Haydon Bridge, B6318, Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 6NN

Housesteads Roman Fort is the remains of an auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall. Its ruins are at Housesteads in the civil parish of Bardon Mill in Northumberland, England, south of Broomlee Lough. The fort was built in stone around AD 124, soon after the construction of the wall began in AD 122 when the area was part of the Roman province of Britannia. Its name has been variously given as Vercovicium, Borcovicus, Borcovicium, and Velurtion. The name of the 18th-century farmhouse of Housesteads gives the modern name. The fort was repaired and rebuilt several times, its northern defences being particularly prone to collapse.

A substantial civil settlement (vicus) existed to the south, outside the fort, and some of the stone foundations can still be seen, including the so-called "Murder House", where two skeletons were found beneath an apparently newly-laid floor when excavated.

In the 2nd century AD, the garrison consisted of an unknown double-sized auxiliary infantry cohort and a detachment of legionaries from Legio II Augusta. In the 3rd century, it comprised Cohors I Tungrorum, augmented by the numerus Hnaudifridi and the Cuneus Frisiorum, a Frisian cavalry unit, cuneus referring to a wedge formation. The Tungrians were still there in the 4th century, according to the Notitia Dignitatum.

By 409 AD the Romans had withdrawn. Most other early forts straddle the Wall and therefore protrude into barbarian territory. It is also unusual for Britain in that it has no running water supply and is dependent upon rainwater collection (for which purpose there is a series of large stone-lined tanks around the periphery of the defences). It also has one of the best-preserved stone latrines in Roman Britain.

The name of the fort has been given as Borcovicus, Borcovicium, and Velurtion. An inscription found at Housesteads with the letters VER, is believed to be short for Ver(covicianorum) the letters ver being interchangeable with bor in later Latin. The name of the 18th-century farmhouse of Housesteads provides the modern name.

There's a scale model of the entire fort in the small museum at the ticket office. There is also a small Museum next to the fort, which shows how Housesteads looked in Roman times. Finds can be seen in the site museum, and in the museum at Chesters, and in the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Visiting the Fort details: Click Here
Parking: Car Park, parking charges apply.

Access Information: Guide Dogs Permitted,  Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors.
Slide show - 49 photographs taken at Housesteads Roman Fort
Getting To Housesteads
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