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Hadrian’s Wall and Cumbrian Coast fortifications

Tonight, I am posting information on the Roman military fort known as Alauna at modern-day Maryport , on England’s north Cumbrian coastline.

The image above shows the hard line of Hadrian’s Wall, running east-west. The Wall’s south-western flank was protected by a fortified line along the coast terminating at Alauna. This line faces across the Solway Firth ( estuary) across which is Scotland but for most of the Roman period was hostile territory controlled by the Picts.

Alauna was one of the largest Roman frontier forts and may have served as a supply base for the western section of the Wall. Alauna was constructed in the AD120s, probably by the 2nd and 20th legions and remained in operation until the Roman withdrawal in AD 410.

Archaeologists have recovered 23 altars whose inscriptions provide a very useful source of information on the occupying forces which were posted from around the Empire, viz:

  • Second Augusta
  • Twentieth Valeria Victrix
  • Twentieth Legion Gordiana
  • Second Cohort of Pannonians ( central Europe)
  • First Cohort of Spaniards
  • First Cohort of Baetasians ( Germany).
  • First Cohort of Dalmatians ( Adriatic)

All the inscriptions are in a form of Latin, except one which is written in Greek.

Images of some of the various altars and inscriptions are provided below.

The video clip below was taken from the vantage point of a replica Roman observation tower and shows the location of the fort relative to the coast and Scotland opposite together with the greenfield site of Alauna which today has the appearance of parkland.

There is a small visitor centre close to the site which houses the altars and other finds. This known as the Senhouse Roman Museum.

Video clip of Alauna Roman Military Site, Maryport, England


To Jupiter, Best and Greatest-the First Cohort of Baetasians, Roman Citizens, commanded by Titus Attius Tutor, prefect.


Roman altars at Senhouse Roman Museum


Roman altars at Senhouse Museum, Maryport

To Jupiter, Best and Greatest, Lucius Cammius Maximus, prefect of the First Cohort of Spaniards

First Cohort of Spaniards-Indutius made this


Florist Shop, Maryport

Earlier today, I undertook a photo tour around Maryport which is now a fishing and tourist based community situated on the Solway Coast in N.W. England.

Going back into the Roman occupation period of 2nd-5th centuries, what is now Maryport was home to a major fort, Aluana, which formed part of the defences which secured the S.W.flank of Hadrian’s Wall on which I will report tomorrow.

Maryport evolved out of a small fishing hamlet and grew to prosperity during the Industrial Revolution on the back of coal exports, ship building, railways and other industries which included shoe manufacture, food production, buttons and baby wear most of which is now defunct.

However, the town remains prosperous with a diversity of shops and much new residential housing in evidence. Population is about 9,500.


Queen Victoria Silohuette, Maritime Museum, Maryport

Public Art and River Ellen, Maryport, Cumbria


Church and Town, Maryport, Cumbria

Dock at Maryport, Cumbria

Working Boats at Maryport, Cumbria

Maryport Harbour, Cumbria

Maryport Marina, England

Sailors Return Pub, Maryport

Cross Quays Fish & Chips, Maryport, Cumbria

Thomas Henry Pub, Maryport

Senhouse Street, Matyport, Cumbria

Middle Tap Pub, Maryport, Cumbria

018Above image shows Solway farming landscape

Today’s weather wasin stark contrast to that prevailing yesterday. We enjoyed perfect conditions comprising zero wind, 60F temperatures and blue skies all of which contributed to a very satisfying and productive trip.

After departing our lodgings in Silloth, Cumbria we first undertook a short tour of the town with its superb views facing the Scottish mountains on opposite side of the Solway Firth.

Silloth, Cumbria


Next we embarked on an inland route south passing through rich and productive farming country. Here we encountered a farming landscape populated with green fields, sheep and cattle. In particular we had encounters with:

  • A ‘saddle back’ sheep.
  • Wind farms.
  • Guernsey heifer cattle.
  • Donkeys.
  • Jacob sheep.
  • A skein of geese.
  • Flock of seagulls.
  • A patch of mushrooms.
  • A peacock (in a children’s farm).





Wild Geese


Jacob Sheep




Saddleback Sheep


Inquisitive heifers


Mushrooms on side of road


Eventually, we connected with the B 5390 coastal route which took us south to our next step at the quaint village of Allonby where we stopped for refreshment in a tea room populated with interesting locals and their canine pets. The unique architecture at Allenby provided some photo opps.

Allonby Tea Room


Allonby Architecture


Next, we continued south stopping to view first a 17th century saltpan and then the nearby Roman Milefortlet 121.

Artist’s illustration of Milefortlet 21


Milefortlet  21




Further south we arrived at our destination of Maryport where we visited the Senhouse Roman Museum which is full of altars and other objects from the adjacent Roman Fort which itself is subject to ongoing archaelogical investigation.

Artist’s illustration of Maryport Roman Fort


Roman altars at Senhouse Museum


In the evening, we were fortunate to witness one of the sunsets for which this area is famous.

Maryport sunset