Our speaker this week was John Patrick, who works at the Swanage Museum, and who came to talk to us about Hadrian’s Wall.
John’s trip to Hadrian’s Wall took place in the Summer of 2017, with a group of 23 people who took part in a week long guided tour. John gave us a brief history of the Emperor Hadrian and his time in Britain, when he had the wall built to repel the “barbarians from the North”!
John’s tour started in Segedunum, known today as Wallsend, at the eastern end of the wall. Much of the wall at this point is no longer there but the footprint of the fort sites have been recovered from housing that had previously been built over it. John explained in detail how the wall would have looked when it was first built.
As the group headed west over subsequent days, more of the wall has been preserved and John showed us photographs depicting fine examples of some of the key forts, turrets and artefacts that remain along the route of the wall. Vindolanda is the “jewel in the crown”of Hadrian’s Wall and the best preserved fort on the entire route. Excavations continue at this site to this day, where many leather shoes, Roman coins and tools have been discovered.
As the week wore on, the tour continued along the route, visiting landmarks such as Corbridge, Poltross Burn, Willowford and Harrow’s Scar. Eventually reaching Birdoswald, the tour encountered the longest remaining preserved stretch of the whole wall.
There were a number of questions from the floor, following which Rotarian Deirdre Selwyn proposed a vote of thanks to John for such an informative and interesting talk.