Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald is the most well-preserved of any of the 16 forts along Hadrian’s Wall. The wall here was begun in turf around 122 AD, some of which is still visible today. Then, starting in the 130s, the wall was rebuilt in stone 50 meters to the north. Today the wall at Birdoswald is the longest surviving contiguous portion of Hadrian’s wall. In addition to the turf wall and later stone wall, visible remains at Birdoswald also include the headquarters building, granaries, barracks, and the only exercise and drill hall found in a Roman auxiliary fort. Birdoswald was occupied from 122 until approximately 400 AD, primarily by soldiers from Dacia, now modern day Romania. The Roman policy was to recruit soldiers from people they’d conquered and then send them to faraway places. In so doing, they severed the soldiers’ connection with Read more…

St. Govan’s Chapel

St. Govan’s chapel is a 13th century chapel built into the face of a cliff over what legend says was the hermitage of St. Govan, a 6th century saint. The chapel is located on St. Govan’s head in Pembrokeshire, on the southeastern coast of Wales. We took one look at photos of St. Govan’s and knew we had to visit, if only because of the location itself. St. Govan was said to have been an Irish saint, who was chased to this particular spot by pirates. From within the church, it is possible to see a somewhat human-shaped crevice that is said to have formed in the rock specifically to save him from being discovered by the pirates. He felt his escape was miraculous and built his hermitage on the spot. St. Govan himself is said to be buried beneath Read more…

St. Seiriol’s Well

Seiriol lived in the 6th century, and, according to legend, regularly used to meet St. Cybi at a central rendezvous on Anglesey. As the story goes, Seiriol traveled with his back to the sun in the morning and returned with his face to the east in the afternoon, and thus became known as Seiriol the Pale, while Cybi became known as Cybi the Tanned. Seiriol himself was a younger brother of King Cynlas of Rhos and King Einion of Ll?n. His cell adjacent to the well is said to have been rebuilt by his brothers, as they didn’t think his humble residence was good enough. The well lies in a small chamber and the building adjacent to its remains might have once been part of the lower stone walls St. Seiriol’s church in the 6th Century. If so, this would make it the oldest remaining Christian building Read more…