We have changed the opening arrangements of our sites to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Housesteads Roman fort is currently closed and any tickets pre-booked for the closed period will be cancelled and refunds automatically made as needed, so there is no need to contact us. We are keeping a selection of sites open for local people to use for exercise during the lockdown period. These are a mixture of free-to-enter and paid sites, and all have plenty of outdoor space for safe social distancing. Visits to paid sites must be booked in advance. We hope to be able to reopen many more of our sites in the near future, and we are currently taking advanced bookings for early spring and beyond. If we are unable to open a site by the time of your booked visit, your ticket will be automatically refunded without you needing to contact us. Thank you for your understanding, patience and support during this difficult time.
Construction of Hadrian's Wall begins. The fort at Housesteads, known as Vercovicium, is built.
138Hadrian's Great Defences
The Wall is completed at the end of Hadrian's reign and is garrisoned by nearly 10,000 men. Housesteads is one of 15 forts along the Wall.
Find out more about the history of Housesteads
The neighbouring Antonine Wall in Scotland is abandoned. Housesteads is garrisoned by the Tungrians, an infantry cohort of about 800 men, for the next two centuries.
Late 2nd-3rd CenturiesFort Renovations
Major building work takes place at the commanding officer's house, the granaries and other fort structures.
Read a description of Housesteads
Early 3rd CenturyDutch Soldiers
Additional garrison units from Frisia (north-east Holland) join Housesteads.
Late 3rd CenturyReduced Numbers
The garrison is reduced in strength, the barracks are transformed, and the settlement outside the fort is abandoned.
5th CenturyAfter the Romans
Immediate post-Roman activity at Housesteads is indicated by a 'cist' burial in a water tank close to the north curtain wall.
Late 16th Century'House Steads'
Part of 'House steads' is reported as belonging to Nicholas Crane of Bradley Hall.
Late 16th Century'Ranke Robbers'
The area becomes a notorious lair for rustlers and thieves, chiefly the Armstrong family. Antiquary and traveller William Camden avoids the site for fear of the 'ranke robbers thereabouts'.
The Revd John Hodgson carries out the first excavations at Housesteads.
19th Century to PresentOpen to Visitors
The fort forms the highlight of John Clayton’s ‘Roman Wall Estate’.
Learn more about the history of Housesteads Roman Fort