Chesters Roman Fort

RS Home

Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is situated about 5 miles north of the town of Hexham, next to the B6318 road, 23 miles west of Newcastle, 36 miles east of Carlisle.

Chesters is one of the main forts built during the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, the wall being built from 122 AD - 128 AD. Emperor Hadrian lived 76 AD - 138 AD.

A cavalry fort known as Cilurnum, was added in about AD 124, with about 500 cavalrymen. The fort was fully occupied until the Romans were gradually withdrawn from the north of England around 383 AD. By 407 AD, all the Romans had left Britain.

Excavations by the landowner at Chesters House, next to the fort, between the 1840s and 1890s, exposed the structures visible today. These excavations led to one of the top collections of stonework on Hadrian's Wall.

Much of the fort and all of the civilian settlement, remain unexcavated.

The image below is of Chesters Visitor Centre and car park.

Chesters Road Map

Chesters Roman Fort Visitor Centre image

The image below is from the path leading to the Roman Fort remains, with the cafe right and museum building left. The museum opened in 1896.

Chesters Roman Museum image

The image below is of the inside of the museum showing the stonework and artifacts found during the excavations from the 1840s - 1890s.

The stonework here is said to be some of the best recovered so far from the Hadrian's Wall Forts. Much of the stonework has carvings and inscriptions.

Most of the finds here are from Chesters and another four forts.

Chesters Roman Museum

Much of the stonework was taken from the site for other buildings between the 600s and 1700s.

What you can see today, is what was excavated between the 1840s and 1890s.

The image below shows under floor heating in the Officers Baths. This main section of the fort is only about 200 yards from the visitor centre.

Chesters Roman Fort image

The image below is of the Bath House, a short walk down by the river. This is one of the best preserved buildings along Hadrian's Wall.

You can see many of the features inside, and view an image of what they would have been like when they were being used.

Chesters Bath House image

The image below is from next to the Bath House, looking across the River North Tyne at the remains of Chesters Bridge, about 200ft across.

The bridge here was where the Roman Military Way run up towards the wall. The cavalry were based at Chesters to defend the bridge.

The bridge is said to have been dismantled by the Saxons around 675 AD, so the stone could be used for Hexham Abbey.

Chesters Bridge image

Next to the Roman Fort is Chesters Country House. The house is private but can be viewed from the Roman Fort through the trees.

Chesters Country House was built in 1771 for John Errington. The house was enlarged by the architect Norman Shaw in 1891, probably the wings either side of the main building. Large stables were built by the house at that time. You can view the impressive stables next to the B6318 road.

Nathaniel Clayton bought the estate in 1796. He had many of the Roman ruins lowered, then covered with soil to form a park between the mansion and river.

His son John Clayton (1792–1890) conducted excavations from 1843 till his death in 1890. John Clayton is also credited with helping to save the central section of Hadrian’s Wall, now one of the top historic sites in the world.

Chesters Roman Site has been run by English Heritage since 1954.

Chesters House Wiki Page

Chesters Humshaugh House image

There is no wall at Chesters. You can follow the B6318 road west where you will see the wall on the north side of the road.

The first part of the wall is now only a dirt mound, with the stone wall starting about 6 miles west of Chesters. You normally see many walkers on the mound, and further on, walking along the stone wall along the top of the hills.

Parts of the mound section are only about 10 feet from the road.

Housesteads Roman Fort is situated 8 miles west of Chesters, with a large car park and visitor centre right next to the road. A path leads up from the visitor centre to the wall where it runs through Housesteads Fort. The path up to Housesteads Fort and the Wall is under 1 mile in distance.

The B6318 runs alongside Hadrian's Wall from just west of Chesters to Birdoswald Roman Fort 20 miles west. This is the best preserved section of the wall with a number of forts and visitor centre's all along.

There is the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus that runs between the towns of Hexham and Haltwhistle, calling at most of the main sites each day from about 09.00 to 18.00, ideal for visiting the sites, or walking along the wall and catching the bus at other sites.

Chesters to Birdoswald Map

Chesters Official Website