Support Your Local Fort!

I would consider myself quite lucky in that there is a Roman fort only a short walk away from where I live. The fort, Arbeia, is located on the southern side of the mouth of the River Tyne, in South Shields. From time to time, the fort hosts various activities and displays and today there was a Roman cavalry display.

The three cavalry soldiers (you can see two of them above) put on a display that demonstrated the use of the sword and javelin from horseback (the latter shown in the picture below)

There was a bit of a sea mist today as you can tell from the the view of the houses in the background!

I also took a picture of some of the equipment on display, including helmets and armour. The group that did the demonstration is called Equistry and based in York (should really refer to it as Eboracum here)!

And although the pictures might suggest that all of this took place in a park in a residential area, it was in the fort grounds, and here’s a picture of the fort’s reconstructed West Gate!

The fort grounds also contain quite impressive reconstructions of a barrack block and the commander’s house, but there were quite a few people about today so I couldn’t really get any decent pictures! And I did get to make a fuss of one of the horses, which made it all the more worthwhile!


  1. That’s a really neat thing to have next door! I do miss having access to medieval and antiquity sites down here although there are some very nice trade offs! And it gives us something to visit when we head to Europe!


    • Thanks Azazel! πŸ™‚ The Arbeia site is not as large as some of the forts on Hadrian’s Wall but it does have the reconstructed gate, barracks and commander’s house which are really good. We also pass it on our daily dog walking route and admission is free, so on some days Dash decides he’d like to explore the fort! I think if I was visiting Australia I’d just be enjoying it for being Australia! πŸ™‚

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      • To be fair, the rider on the light coloured horse wasn’t using stirrups. The other two riders were, but they weren’t obvious unless you were looking for that sort of detail (and I spotted that fairly quickly, even though the straps were reasonably well hidden under the horse furniture). Maybe it comes down to the skill of the riders, what the horse is used to and whether it’s safer to use stirrups for such demonstrations for all concerned, but I still enjoyed the demonstration.

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  2. Long long ago I briefly lived and worked in the city but was directed to β€œgo west young man” which I did and visited Chester’s fort? Never made it to jarrow yet the site is clearly impressive πŸ‘

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  3. This is really cool, John! I really want to visit some Roman locations, foremost in Italy of course, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Hadrian’s Wall in your fair country either. One of my UK-based painting friends gave me stick over wanting to see it but when you live in the US, you don’t see much Roman stuff outside of art museums. Personally, I think and hope this can only mean the start of an epic Roman project on your part πŸ˜‰ Its time to assume the purple and fulfill your duty to the Republic, John! πŸ˜€

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    • Thanks Jeff! πŸ™‚ I think forts and castles wherever they are are always worth seeing! The closest I will get to any Roman-related project will be my WW2 Italian coastal forces ships, a couple of Sardinian units for the 1859 campaign in Italy and having a few games against my regular wargames opponent John when he gets his Punic Wars armies finished!

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  4. Man, I miss having that kind of history now I live in the States. Although being in New England is a lot better for history than California, where anything over 25 years old is considered historic LOL!

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  5. I love late Roman-stuff. Though those English houses are also really nice, not even lying. I like that architechtural-style also quite a bit.
    I really should visit some of the local Roman-museums we have here some times and the Limes as well, I mean it’s right around the corner and I’ve never been there.

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