Skip to main content

Search sources

A comprehensive guide to Hadrian's Wall

A comprehensive guide to Hadrian's Wall
28 May 2018

John Sandiford from Tynedale U3A describes years of detailed research and a very popular website developed by the Hadrian’s Wall group.

The Tynedale U3A Hadrian’s Wall group has completed the first part of a five year long research project into Hadrian’s wall.   The research produced detailed guides - now completed for all sixteen Wall Roman Forts along with a further fifteen forts north and south of the Wall.

There are a further seven guided walks covering forty miles of central section of the Wall, where most of the visible remains can be seen in Tynedale area.

Our website details the five years of research.  There are articles on its purpose, how it was built, a history of the Northern conquest, the legions that came to Britain and the museums where many of the artefacts can be found.  There are about 900 pictures and diagrams illustrating the Roman Empire‘s most heavily defended frontier.

The website is now the most comprehensive, illustrated, Wall Site on the Web and if published as a book would be larger than any book published about the Wall.

So far we have had nearly 10,000 visitors to the website from 91 counties, with 300 new visitors a month. Great care has had to be taken in compiling the information as the web is littered with “fake news”.

It’s generally believed that the Romans left Britain in the early fifth century and went back to Rome. Yes there were troop moved to the continent, but many stayed where they and their families had lived for generations, particularly in the Northern forts. The end of Roman rules was when the officials of a usurper emperor were thrown out in 410AD by the local “British Romans”. Very few of the occupying army throughout the whole 350 year occupation came from Rome or ever went there.

The wall is now of course a World Heritage site, 73 miles long, with further defences down the Cumbrian coast, alas without a visitors centre.

At Vindolanda, about 2 miles south of the centre section Wall, built over 30 years before the wall was built, was found the tablets. These are letters written on thin wooden tablets by ordinary citizens about ordinary life and considered Britain’s greatest archaeological treasure. Over 1000 have been found so far. A site that must be seen, but read our guides before you go.

Did you know?

Only 7% of the Wall has been excavated and some forts hardly look at.

You may think that we must be finished, far from it. The Wall was built by three legions and manned by about 10,000 ancillary solders from a dozen counties access the empire, we need analysis this further. In settlements outside the forts lived the solders’ families along with people providing all services that the fort may need. We need to collate what is known, as we are talking of a population of between 30,000 and 50,000 including the two towns on the Wall at Carlisle and Corbridge.

In addition there is the road system, their religion, including temples and artefacts and a short biography of Emperor Hadrian, who never saw it built.

The website can be found at

Previous & Next Articles in this category

Previous & Next Articles in this category