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Eboracum Roman Fort

Visited September 2019

Location York, Yorkshire
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby York
Parking City Car Parks
Facilities City Centre Facilities
Map

 

The remains of Eboracum Roman Fort can be found in the modern day city of York. Some of the fort was incorporated into the York city walls- a good example of this is the section  which is now in the Museum Gardens, and consists of walling with a tower, known as the Multangular Tower.

 


 

 


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The earliest known reference to Eboracum was found on a wooden tablet dating from between 95-105AD which was found at Vindolanda Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall. However it is thought that Eboracum was constructed by the Ninth Legion in about 71AD, at a strategic place between the Rivers Ouse and Foss. The local people started to trade with the 5000 Roman soldiers stationed at the Fort and a settlement grew up around it, which was the origins of the city of York.

 

The original Fort was built onto turf ramparts with wooden palisades. These were in time replaced with stone walls. In 108-9 the whole fort was re-built in stone by the outgoing Ninth Legion;  the Sixth Legion, who came over with Emperor Hadrian,  then moved in. (The Ninth Legion then mysteriously disappeared from records and no one knows to this day what happened to them!) Hadrian found Britain to be in turmoil and decided he could only control the country by building a wall to keep out the unruly Scots. Hence the now famous Hadrian's Wall.

 

The Sixth Legion remained at Eboracum until the end of the Roman occupation. In that time the fort was re-built several times, and the civilian population around the fort continued to grow. 

 


 

 


 

Fast forward from the end of the Roman occupation and on to the Norman conquest. The remains of the fort were re-built and incorporated into the town walls which protected the town now known as York. York was an important town, it had a large Castle (see Clifford's Tower) and several Abbeys. The population was growing so it needed a hospital. St Leonard's Hospital was founded in 1137 on a piece of land right next to the Multangular Tower, and looked after the health needs of the poor of York until Henry VIII closed the hospital on the basis it had been founded by a monastic community. The remains of the hospital can be visited today, right next to the remains of Eboracum in the Museum Gardens in York.

 

It is a convenient place to visit as you can see the remains of Eboracum, the remains of St Leoanard's Hospital and the remains of St Mary's Abbey, all in one place. Plus of course the Yorkshire Museum, which gave the park its name.

 


 

 


 

If looking around the remains of Eboracum is not enough of a Roman fix for you, then head over to York Minster Yard. There is a Roman column standing in the yard, which was found during excavations of the Minster. There is also a statue of Constantine I, who was declared Roman Emperor in 306AD in Eboracum. The statue is a modern one, which contrasts well will the ancient column sited nearby.

 

Finally, there is the Treasurer's House, the one time residence of the  Treasurer of the Minster, restored in the late Victorian times by wealthy industrialist Frank Green. The Roman connection to this house is that in the 1950's, a young plumber named Harry Martindale was working in the cellars when he claimed to have seen members of a  a Roman legion, marching along a Roman road. These claims were widely dismissed at the time because the colour of the Roman uniform Harry described was allegedly wrong. However in more recent times the details of the uniform have have  been confirmed as true. Harry Martindale recounted his story many times and his the details never changed. For those of you brave enough to visit the haunted cellar, it is open on certain days for a guided tour.

 

Ghosts apart, York is an interesting place to visit with children, as there are many attractions to amuse them, plus the facilities of a large city. Who knows, maybe you will see the ghosts of a Roman legion whilst you are there!

 

 


 

 


 

More info:  Eboracum Fortress

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