In January 2020 it was announced that the legal ownership of Carrawburgh Roman Fort had been transferred to Historic England, the Government’s heritage advisor, and it will be cared for by English Heritage as part of the National Heritage Collection. The fort is the first acquisition for the National Collection since English Heritage became a charity in 2015. Kate Mavor, English Heritage’s Chief Executive, said:
This is a great start to the New Year, not only for English Heritage but for the nation who will get to enjoy this wonderfully evocative site on what was once the edge of the Roman Empire. We would like to thank Jennifer Du Cane, whose family has cared for the fort since 1950, for her generosity and look forward very much to welcoming the public to Carrawburgh.
Carrawburgh Roman Fort is one of 16 forts along the 73-mile long Hadrian’s Wall, which was begun around AD 122. The forts were added to the Wall as a change to the original design. Carrawburgh housed a garrison of approximately 500 soldiers – first from south-west France, later from southern Belgium – responsible for defending the frontier of the Roman Empire. Occupying an area of 1.4 hectares on a slightly raised natural terrace, overlooking the Northumberland National Park, Carrawburgh sits between the Roman cavalry fort at Chesters and the infantry fortress at Housesteads.
Nearby stands the fascinating temple to the god Mithras, built by the soldiers of Carrawburgh. Mithraism was a Roman religion inspired by a god originally worshipped in the eastern Empire. According to legend, Mithras captured and killed a sacred bull in a cave, which Mithraic temples were intended to evoke. The temple was probably built by soldiers at the fort around AD 200 and destroyed about AD 350. Three altars found here (replicas stand in the temple) were dedicated by commanding officers of the unit stationed here, the First Cohort of Batavians from the Rhineland.
Before You Go
Access: The site is reached through a field, parts of which are uneven and can become muddy. Not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Please be aware that the site is also prone to flooding in wet weather.
Parking: There is a Northumberland National Parks car park at the site. Charges apply.
Please be aware: Farm livestock is likely to be present.
The postcode provided is for the nearest possible location.
Plan a Great Day Out
The Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh is part of the Chesters Roman Trail.
A must see along the trail is Chesters Roman Fort which includes Chesters Museum and houses a collection of Roman finds discovered by antiquarian John Clayton (1792-1890). Many finds came from Carrawburgh, including over 13,000 coins and other items of value left as gifts to the water goddess Coventina. Some of these are now displayed in the museum at Chesters.
Chesters Roman Fort also has a tearoom, selling delicious hot and cold refreshments. There are also toilet facilities, a picnic area and gift shop.