Birdoswald Roman Fort from S.W.

This evening, I am posting information on Birdoswald, one of the best preserved forts on Hadrian’s Wall, in northern England.

The Roman name for the fort was Banna whilst the modern name is derived from a combination of Brittonic ( Welsh) and Anglo-Saxon which means pen or farmyard of Oswald.

The fort is located in the western section of Hadrian’s Wall, about 16 miles east of Carlisle.

The fort evolved through five distinct phases, viz:

Phase 1: A solitary signal tower AD 100-120 ( pre Wall).

Phase 2: Turf and timber fort built about AD 125 which straddled the Wall.

Phase 3: Stone fort built AD 130-138 straddling the Wall.

Phase 4: Around AD 138 Hadrian’s Wall rebuilt in stone on an alignment which entirely contained the fort behind the Wall.

Phase 5: About AD 198-300 the fort was re-occupied with significant new building work. A vicus or civilian settlement grew up outside the fort.

A feature of this site is the continuity of occupation. After the Roman departure in AD 410 the former fort was occupied by people of the so-called Dark Ages who constructed a huge hall. After a gap of about 500 years the site was re-occupied in the 11th century and then onwards to the current era via a series of period dwellings. The current building (farmhouse) has origins in the 17th century.

The key aspects of the Roman fort visible today are:

  • East, West and South Gates.
  • Infantry barracks.
  • Drill and exercise hall.
  • Granaries.
  • Commander’s residence.
  • Civilian settlement to east


Hadrian’s Wall at Birdoswald ( east).

Birdoswald Roman Fort: view from South

S.E. corner of Birdoswald Roman Fort looking North

Granaries with timber posts indicating 5th century timber hall.


Main East Gate at Birdoswald Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall

Birdoswald Roman Fort from main South Gate

Birdoswald Roman Fort N.W to S.E.


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