Roman Seat

Grid Reference: NY 482 227

Roman Seat

Sheep shelters, burial mounds, drystone walls and ancient stone circles.  Barton Fell has them all, and now, nestled just below the 2000 year old Roman Road is a curved stone seat, built by local craftsman George Allonby along with David Buchanan, designed to reflect the history of this area.

A place to shelter, to relax and enjoy the fine views of Ullswater and the fells.  A place where if you listen carefully you may hear sounds of a Roman Legion, marching towards the high ground, en route from Brocavum to Galava. Be careful you don’t get swept along with them on their 25 mile journey!

During their 350-year occupation of Britain, communications were crucial to the Roman army. They built an extensive network of roads to transport supplies to their soldiers and to link them with their command centres.

Imagine the movement of goods and people required to build Hadrian’s Wall which, for much of this period, marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. Stretching almost 80 miles from coast to coast it took only 6 years to build and is thought to have involved 15,000 men. No doubt the Galava  - Brocavum road was bustling in those days!

Brocavum was located near Penrith but the fort survives only as earthworks and these have not been excavated. In contrast, at the fort of Galava, on the shores of Lake Windermere in Ambleside, you can see extensive ruins. Galava is thought to have been a supply base. It is perfectly situated to receive goods arriving by ship up the lake and it had large granaries for storage. 

We invite you to pause a while, enjoy the views and imagine the sites and sounds that would have surrounded you in Roman times. 

by Joyce Robinson, resident of Pooley Bridge

Creating the Roman Seat

The Roman Seat was the inspired idea of recent amputee, Alan Wedgwood. As he took up walking again after receiving his prosthetic, the track from Pooley Bridge to the Roman Crossroads on Moor Divock seemed a perfect choice. The only problem was the lack of a seat where he could rest and enjoy the view once he reached his goal. So his wife, Janet, used to carry a garden chair!

When a call went out for ideas for "installations"  on a new Ullswater Heritage Trail,  Alan promptly suggested the construction of a seat up at the "crossroads". Then Alan had a brainwave. He realised that the stone from the arched door of a barn, which he had in his garden, could be laid horizontally to make a curved seat.

The idea caught on in the community, consultations took place, funds were raised, permissions were granted and, after a great deal of hard work it was time for work to begin. See below for pictures and more about how the idea became a reality.

Alan's sketch for the Roman Seat

Construction Timeline

23rd April 

Local farmers William and James Coulston, along with daughter Lucy, meet George Allonby and David Buchanan, who are to build the seat. The stone from Janet and Alan’s garden is selected by George and David, loaded, then transported up to the seat site by the Coulstons.

25th April a.m.

As the official launch of the Ullswater Way takes place, work on the seat begins. After the speeches at the top of Roehead Lane, several people walk up to meet George and are rewarded by seeing the first course of stones being laid. 

25th April p.m.

At the end of the day the strength and solidity of the seat is apparent as it sits quietly beneath the main track close to High Street, the old Roman Road.

26th April

April brings hail showers and sunshine. Alan watches as George and David show their skill and experience as the back of the seat is begun.

27th April

At 3pm the last slab is laid. George and David just have time to try out the seat, tidy up and head down the fell before heavy snow almost causes a whiteout. The Roman Seat spends its first night hunkered down in a white blanket – the weather god has been kind and the seat is completed

29th April

A majestic seat, built to last and maybe become part of the history of the area.  Most importantly, a seat that blends in with its surroundings, and offers comfort and shelter on both sunny and stormy days.

Inauguration of the Roman Seat

Time to Celebrate

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