Huddersfield in Roman Times
By Ian A. Richmond
REFORMS UNDER THE EMPORER HADRIAN, A.D.
AGRICOLA’S WORK BREAKS DOWN
Not later than A.D. 117, when the Emperor Trajan died, the
British frontier in the far north was shaken to its foundations
by a severe rebellion. As Mommsen has noted, the even received
even less mention in contemporary literature than its result,
which was the re-organisation of the frontier, including
the building of Hadrian’s wall from Tyne to Solway.
But over the map of northern Britain its effects are written
large. In or soon after A.D. 115, as coins shew, the great
fort at Newstead, near Melrose, was abandoned in haste,
and with it the rest of Scotland.
To prevent trouble from spreading further south, additional
fortlets were built on the road between Tyne and Solway,
known as the Stanegate. About this time, too, the Ninth
Legion, stationed at York, disappeared from history, and
its place was taken by the Sixth. The intense anxiety of
these years is shown by schemes of consolidation in the
natural gap between Tyne and Solway. Agricola’s forts
on the Stanegate had been strengthened already by the building
of new block-houses. They were now remodelled or abandoned;
the block-houses fell out of use; and new forts were added
to form a new frontier line, much where Hadrian’s
Wall now runs. Very soon, preceding the speedy enlargement
of some of the forts, the new chain of forts was backed
by a great earthwork, built, as it seems, to mark the boundary
of the reduced province.
Meanwhile, the forts south of the Tyne had been holding
on as well as might be, amid disturbances which apparently
were local rather than general. The fort at Ilkley, for
example, was burnt down, while those of Slack, Castleshaw,
or Hardknot remained unscathed. Soon, however, and probably
before A.D. 122, reconstruction and consolidation began
under a new governor, Quintus Pompeius Falco, but mostly
upon old lines. At Slack, for example, a fresh coin of A.D.
118 was found in the re-constructed bath-house, associated
with the altar of Antonius Modestus, who was a centurion
of the Sixth Legion, which had arrived to replace the Ninth
Legion at York.
© Copyright of Kirklees
Museums and Galleries