The Anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall

Posted on Might 11, 2022

by Ann Cleeves

This 12 months marks the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall. In keeping with a historical past written a few years later, Emperor Hadrian visited Britain, one of the far-flung areas of the Empire, in 122 AD. He determined he wanted to ‘put many issues to rights’ and ordered a wall to be constructed to maintain out the wild marauders, ‘the barbarians,’ from the north. 

The wall has by no means separated England from Scotland—these international locations by no means existed in Hadrian’s day—and now a lot of my, and Vera’s, Northumberland lies to the north of the fantastically constructed barrier. It crosses the isthmus that runs seventy-four miles between the estuaries of the Solway in Cumbria to the West the Tyne to the East. 

Three legions of normal skilled British troops constructed the wall, every consisting of 5 thousand closely armed males. It was manned by auxiliaries from additional afield; most had been recruited from the northwestern provinces of the Empire, however some got here from a lot additional away. I’m wondering what these males from Southern Europe fabricated from their bleak and windswept new residence. Did they dream of the sunshine? Of lemons and wine and olives?

In any case this time, the wall nonetheless stands, very a lot part of this wild and exquisite panorama. In some locations, solely small stretches stay in fields grazed by sheep or within the suburbs of the town Newcastle and the city of Wallsend on the Tyne, the place as soon as enormous ships had been constructed and despatched out into the world. The studios the place lots of the inside scenes of the TV drama Vera are filmed are in Wallsend, a brief distance from the fort of Segedunum, which marks the easterly level of the wall, and the place guests are welcome. Right here the traditional and the post-industrial landscapes meet.

Elsewhere, in depth forts have been excavated and we’ve a way of the locations the place troopers labored and lived. Maybe the very best place to go to is Vindolanda, the place excavation remains to be going down, and the place a museum brings the world of the fort to life. Vindolanda was constructed even earlier than the wall, however went on to grow to be an essential garrison in its personal proper. 

Fascinating artifacts have been discovered there. Once they had been found, the well-known Vindolanda tablets had been the oldest surviving hand-written paperwork in Britain. They report army issues, but in addition private messages from the members of the garrison to their associates and households. Specialists proceed to catalog the collections of leather-based discovered on the positioning—there are footwear, fantastically made and nonetheless nearly totally intact. Most not too long ago, two lengthy, skinny buildings had been found. One had been recognized as a schola, an officers’ mess and membership, the place the center ranks would meet to dine and socialize.

In January, the 1900 bunting problem was launched. The purpose is to get 1900 flags of bunting to be strung collectively to type an exhibition at Roman Vindolanda to mark the constructing of the wall. Flags have been arriving from all around the world. The wall, constructed to maintain warring factions aside, is now very a lot bringing folks collectively.

Hadrian’s Wall is a distinguished characteristic in Ann Cleeve’s fictional quick story Frozen. In Frozen, a decade previous thriller is revived, and Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope should uncover secrets and techniques lengthy buried earlier than this case as soon as once more goes chilly. You possibly can be taught extra or obtain your free copy right here.

Picture Credit score: David Hirst

Ann Cleeves is the multi-million copy bestselling writer behind two hit tv collection—Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, and Vera, starring Academy Award Nominee Brenda Blethyn—each of that are watched and liked in america.

Shetland and Vera can be found on BritBox in america. An adaptation of The Lengthy Name, the primary guide in her Two Rivers collection, premiered on BritBox in 2021.

The primary Shetland novel, Raven Black, received the Crime Writers’ Affiliation Gold Dagger for greatest crime novel, Ann was awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger in 2017, and was awarded the OBE in 2022 for providers to studying and libraries. She lives in the UK.

Tags: Ann Cleeves, Emperor Hadrian, English Historical past, Frozen, Hardian’s Wall