Coordinates: 55°01′34″N 2°08′20″W / 55.026°N 2.139°W / 55.026; -2.139

 Cilurnum shown within Northumberland
Founded 123 AD
Attested by Notitia Dignitatum
Place in the Roman world
Province Britannia
— Stone structure —
Stationed military units
I Augusta ?
Coordinates 55°01′34″N 2°08′20″W / 55.026°N 2.139°W / 55.026; -2.139
County Northumberland
Country England
UK-OSNG reference NY911701

Cilurnum or Cilurvum was a fort on Hadrian's Wall mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum. It is now identified with the fort found at Chesters (also known as Walwick Chesters to distinguish it from other sites named Chesters in the vicinity) near the village of Walwick, Northumberland, England. It was built in 123 AD, just after the wall's completion.

Cilurnum is considered to be the best preserved Roman cavalry fort along Hadrian's Wall. The site is now preserved by English Heritage as Chester's Roman Fort. There is a museum on the site, housing finds from the fort and elsewhere along the wall.


The site guarded a bridge, Chesters Bridge, carrying the Military Way Roman road behind the wall across the River North Tyne. Massive abutments survive of this bridge across the river from the fort. Cilurnum was a cavalry fort at its foundation, for retaliatory raids into barbarian areas north of the wall, then given over to infantry later. Hadrian himself encouraged the "Cult of Disciplina" amongst legions stationed at the wall, and an early inscription on an altar dedicated to Disciplina, found in 1978, indicates the earliest known military presence was a wing of cavalry, ala Augusta ob virtutem appellata ("named Augusta because of its valour"). Inscriptions have also been found showing the First Cohort of Dalmatians, from present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina(Yugoslavia), and the First Cohort of Vangiones from Upper Rhineland in Germany were also stationed here.

Four large Roman columns, believed to come from Cilurnum, may be seen supporting the south aisle in the church of St Giles at Chollerton, a couple of miles upstream from the fort.



In the early 19th century Nathaniel Clayton, owner of Chesters House and Estate, moved hundreds of tons of earth to cover over the last remains of the fort as part of his parkland landscaping, thereby creating a smooth uninterrupted grassland slope down to the River Tyne; However, he collected, before they disappeared, a number of Roman artefacts which he preserved in the family.

His son John Clayton, a noted antiquarian, when he inherited the estate in 1832, with a crew of workmen, un-did his father's landscaping, exposing the fort, excavating the ruins, and establishing a small museum for the finds. John Clayton also purchased and made excavations at Housesteads Fort, Carrawburgh Mithraic Temple, and Carvoran, and other historic sites.


The museum was commissioned in 1895 and opened in 1903. It is a grade II* listed building and was designed by Richard Norman Shaw. It displays part of John Clayton's collection of Roman finds.[1]


See also


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