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Roman Carlisle

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Roman CarlisleCarlisle and Cumbria: Roman and Medieval Architecture, Art and Archaeology (British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions) Under the Romans, and with its position on Hadrian's Wall, Carlisle had the distinction of being the most north-westerly centre of 'Romanitas' in a vast empire. Later, the castle-building programme, initiated under William II, the establishment of the priory in 1123, followed by the See in 1133, marked Carlisle out as a key strategic bulwark against an ever-present threat from the Scots. The majority of papers at the conference and in this volume focus on the cathedral, various aspects of its architectural development, the wonderful east window and its stained glass, the fine medieval woodwork and extraordinary paintings on the backs of the choir stalls and the ceiling of the Prior's Tower. The castle and other important churches and monastic sites in Cumbria were also examined, along with the Bishop's residence at Rose Castle, and an appreciation of the work of that distinguished cleric, Dean Tait.

Carlisle began as a Roman town called Luguvallium. The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD and about 78 AD the governor, Agricola, built a wooden fort on the site of Carlisle.

Soon a civilian settlement grew up nearby. The soldiers in the fort provided a market for the townspeople’s goods. The Roman town was called Luguvalium.

In Roman Carlisle there was probably a forum or market place with the public buildings around it. There was a public baths. In Roman times people went to the baths not just to get clean but also to socialise.

However in the 4th century Roman civilisation declined. Troops were withdrawn from Hadrian's wall in 399 AD and the last Roman soldiers left Britain in 407.

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