Chesters Roman Fort Collection

The Clayton Collection at Chesters is made up mostly of Roman finds from multiple forts, milecastles and turrets along Hadrian’s Wall. John Clayton (1792–1890) inherited the fort of Chesters in 1832 and by the time he died he owned five forts in total. Excavating every year for almost 50 years he uncovered some hugely significant finds, as well as enhancing our understanding of the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. For example, the 53 centurial stones he discovered give us the names of soldiers involved in building the Wall.

The collection contains around 11,000 finds along with archive material from Clayton’s time and later. Most famous is the wide range of inscriptions and sculpture, in particular the religious material, with many deities and religions represented. Certain finds are internationally important, such as the Coventina’s Well material, found in 1876 by the fort of Carrawburgh. However, the collection also holds many hidden gems, such as painted wall plaster from Chesters, delicate glasswork and intriguing graffiti. The collection is displayed in Chesters Museum, built in 1895 to house the material.

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