Posted by: Matthew Crawford | December 12, 2010

Hexham and Hadrian’s Wall

A few weeks ago we took off on a Saturday afternoon and made a quick trip north to see some interesting sites. Our first stop was Hexham, a small market town with a historic abbey. The majority of the current abbey (which is now a parish church) was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries. However, a church has existed on the site since the 7th century. That means that for the last 1300 years, people have been coming to this location to worship. The original 7th crypt remains, which you can go down into and visit (creepy!), but it is only open twice a day and we were there at the wrong time to visit it. We’ll try to visit again some time to see the crypt.

Here’s a picture of the front of Hexham Abbey:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a picture of the inside of the abbey:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we left Hexham, we drove further north for 20 minutes or so to Hadrian’s Wall. This was the site I was really excited about. Hadrian’s Wall was built under the Emperor Hadrian in the 120s, during the time when the Romans still controlled Britain. It was a stone wall that ran all the way across the island of Britain from coast to coast, and apparently marked the boundary of Roman territory. To the north lay the unconquered barbarians. To the south lay the world of civilization – cities, trade, and the rule of law. Amazingly, remnants of the wall are still present today, though over the centuries much of the stone from it has been taken and used for other building projects. Space out along the wall was a series of forts housing troops. We visited the wall at a place called Housesteads, which is one of the best preserved Roman forts in all of northern Europe (perhaps the best preserved, some have said). The fort was built into the wall, as you can see from the pictures, and its foundations are still evident today. The Romans were amazing builders. The room for the commander of the fort was even heated! And the room holding the grain had a raised floor to prevent infestation from rodents and the rotting of the grain. It was a cold day with a bone-chilling wind, but we braved the elements and had a wonderful time.

Standing on top of the wall:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wall stretching away in the distance:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to see all of our pictures and videos from the trip, click here.

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