Roman around in the past

WALLINGTON is turning the clock back nearly 1,900 years to reveal what life was like for battle hardened Roman warriors.

Soldiers posted to north Britannia will be stepping into the 21st Century as the National Trust brings to life one of its most famous paintings — William Bell Scott’s dramatic depiction of the building of Hadrian’s Wall.

The image is the first in a series of eight showing famous scenes from Northumbrian history that the artist, who was born 200 years ago this year, painted on the walls of Wallington’s central hall.

The grassed courtyard will be turned into a military camp, complete with horses, on Sunday and Monday as visitors are invited to march back in time to the imperial age in the company of York-based re-enactment group Comitatus.

Aptly called The Romans are Coming, soldiers will be put through their paces with Latin drill, missile competitions and combat sparring, while the Cavalry squadron will display their power and skill on horseback.

Children will have the chance to handle everyday Roman objects in the encampment and see crafts being demonstrated, as well as have a go at traditional 2,000-year-old games and take part in drill training.

If the discipline of being a rank and file foot soldier doesn’t appeal, then younger visitors can meet the cavalry soldier’s best friend at pat the pony sessions.

Meanwhile, the whole family can put their best foot forward on the Latin trail, a thought-provoking mystery trek through Wallington’s woods with clues written in the language of ancient Rome.

Wallington’s events and promotions manager Julie Tucker said: “We are all very excited that Wallington is being ‘invaded’ for the first time ever by the Romans.

“Back in the second century AD, Wallington would have been north of Hadrian’s Wall in the heart of what the Romans saw as the barbarian lands and the end of civilisation as they knew it.

“It’s hard to imagine now just what a wild and inhospitable area this would have been 1,900 years ago, but Comitatus will be bringing the challenges of those times very much to life.”

The build up starts on Saturday with Get Ready for the Romans!

Young and old alike are being challenged to build a scaled down version of a section of Hadrian’s Wall from small concrete blocks complete with a milecastle, vallum and clay ditches. Mosaic making will also be on offer.

For more information about the events, telephone 01670 773600 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington