Day out to
September saw the first Orton & Tebay Local History Society day
out. The trip, arranged by our programme organiser Wendy Higgins, was
a coach trip taking us all to Hadrian’s Wall. First was The Roman
Army Museum situated on the line of the Wall, this makes a convenient
and informative stop situated between Greenhead and Walltown Quarry.
Here we saw Roman artefacts and watched the film “The Eagle’s
Eye”. The Eagle’s Eye film was produced in 2002 for the Roman
Army Museum and is a virtual guided tour of the Carvoran to
Vindolanda section of Hadrian’s Wall complete with virtual
moved on to Vindolanda. The Roman army appears to have occupied the
site of Vindolanda from around AD 85 after the Governor, Agricola.
Romans called the place ‘Vindolanda’, as many documents and an
inscription confirm, perhaps because they were turning into Latin an
existing native name, thought to mean ‘white lawns’ or something
similar. The fort guarded the central section of the vital east to
west supply route, known now as the Stanegate, and when the Wall was
built some 40 year later, Vindolanda took its place between
Housesteads and Great Chesters as a Wall fort. The early forts were
built in timber, and required replacement every seven to eight years,
even if there was no change in garrison, and the fifth such fort was
constructed early in Hadrian’s reign.
was almost continuous until the end of Roman rule in the beginning of
the fifth century. In the fifth and sixth century Vindolanda was
still occupied, as were several other Wall forts, as what passed for
government tried, successfully, to keep out the Picts from the north.
exploring the earliest levels have to excavate down to four metres in
places, because the Romans constructed at least ten forts on the
site, some larger than others. It is slow and expensive work, much
assisted now by numerous specialists, and after many years of work,
it is estimated that it will take at least another 150 years to
complete the examination of Roman Vindolanda.
of the Excavations
built in the gard en
1831 the Rev. Anthony Hedley, the first excavator of Vindolanda, built
Chesterholm in the valley below the Vindolanda site as a beautiful
home for his family. In 1974 the buildings and garden were purchased
to house the ever growing Vindolanda collection and become its
research base, and since then, numerous extensions have been built
being allowed 2 hours to explore this vast site and museum, Joseph
Jackson came to tell us about the life and times of the population at
to make our way back but not before a stop at Lanercost Priory. The
Augustinian Priory of Lanercost stands in a peaceful and atmospheric
position in the lush wooded valley of the River Irthing. The priory
was founded in 1166 by Robert de Vaux, Lord of Glisland in the reign
of King Henry II. It was constructed from stone taken mainly from
nearby Hadrian’s Wall and was completed by 1220.
the end of 1306 and the beginning of 1307 Lanercost became a royal
palace when Edward I who was then 67 became ill while travelling and he
had to stay for 5 months at the Priory. The King with Queen Margaret
and about 200 noblemen, doctors, bodyguards and servant had to be
accommodated at the expense of the Priory . This disrupted the monastic
life but the King was too ill to be moved to Carlisle until March 1307,
and he did not pay for his keep as it was considered an honour to house
the Royal Party . These five months almost bankrupted Lanercost Priory.
VIII then finished the priory with the Dissolution of the
Monastries in the 1530s. but luckily for us. Lanercost still
required a parish church and the nave of the priory church
had been used as such for 200 years -so it seemed to make sense for
of us that visited the priory ruins found it a peaceful place
|The south side of
the cloisters held the refectory and under this was a place for storage
of food and drink.
This is a wonderful feature with a large fireplace in the south wall
which was known as the warming room, the only place where the canons
were allowed to keep warm in front of the fire.
So much to see here but not enough time.
||A few of us also
visited the village hall. This was once where the Dacres
entertained in style. It formed the west side of the cloisture but what
we see now is only half of its original length . The hall
itself is impressive but one of its most interesting features
tantalising traces of wall paintings on the north wall. This shows a
griffin which would have been on one side of the Dacres' coat of arms.
|Now we moved onto
the parish church with the statue of Mary Magdalene in its
niche high above the west entrance. The day we visited we were met with
a fantastic display of flowers with
perfume to match. The church itself has been restored many times . In
the 1870s the architect C. J .Ferguson was involved in its restoration.
(He was the architect for St. James' Church Tebay.) He gave
Lanercost walls stripped of plaster new pews and a new organ
and blocked the entrance into the precint.
Through the east window you can see the old ruins of the priory. These
three painted glass windows were taken from “the Dining Room in the
Abbey House” and were inserted into the east window at the time of the
1740 restoration. In the north-west corner of the church the three
stained glass windows were
designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris's
William Wailes, 1864. The upper panel depicts our Lord appearing to
Mary Magdalene, the middle panel Christ praying in the Garden of
Gethsemane, and the lower panel the sacrificing of the whole burnt
||The second of
three windows in the Priory that were designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and
executed by the William Morris
Company in 1912 (sixteen years after William Morris's death). It
depicts the burial of Moses.
was a wonderful day out enhanced by Wendy's fantastic
keeping us all informed about the history of the areas we travelled