I am really sorry for the radio silence for the last two weeks; we are now tantalizingly close to being able to announce the next steps for Primordial Game Studios, and I've managed to carve out some time to FINALLY write our second newsletter special, where I visited Falkirk early in the month, and took some shots of three of the eastern sites of the Antonine Wall; Kinneal Estate, Polmont Wood and Callender House. I was also able to get some shots of an early medieval church ruin, which I've dumped at the end.
The Antonine Wall is the furthest extension north into Calledonia (Scotland) that the Romans made; Hadrian began the construction of the Vallum Hadriani in 122AD which still roughly mirrors the current border between England and Scotland, over 1900 years later, but 20 years later, in 142AD the next Emperor, Antonius Pius began construction of the Vallum Antonini, or Antonine Wall. This wall runs from Carriden, west of Edinburgh (a few stops from where I visited) to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.
The construction was finished in 154AD, but the wall only lasted until 162AD, when the Romans withdrew back to Hadrian's Wall; with the unfamiliar terrain and supply lines exposed across southern Calledonia maintaining the wall became untenable. Since then, the Antonine Wall was virtually extinguished, it's materials recycled for other constructions and projects around Scotland (If you've read my previous posts, this happened a LOT in Scottish History) but there are a lot of sites that are still identifiable.
1 - Callendar House
Callender House is a 14th Century house designed in a French chateau style, set in Callender Park. The park houses a brilliant museum that covers the 11th to the 19th centuries, the Industrial Revolution in Falkirk and most importantly (for me) a few rooms covering the Antonine Wall, which can be seen from the windows.
In the grounds (although it took me a while to find) was the outline of the former wall; after a lot of searching, I had one clue to go on:
This is the outer moat of the Antonine Wall, that runs perpendicular to the house; this is where the covered spikes would have been housed. I got some additional shots of the model to show how it would have looked for the 20 years the Wall was active.
(This last shot is from a model at Kinneal Estate, but it really helps illustrate how the wall would have looked)
2 - Polmont Wood
Shockingly, there was even less of a trace of the Antonine Wall at Polmont Wood, even though I used this reference pic at the entrance, cross-referenced with my location on Google Maps (the stream was a great reference point). However, with a LOT of walking in circles and with some very helpful dog walkers, I was able to get shots of the wall's line.
These are the best ones;
3 - Kinneil Estate
Kinneil Estate has a lot of varied history, and I was told by the front desk about a great audio tour app called 'IZITravel', that displayed a lot of the history (you can even google and check out audio tours remotely, although it's much better in person).
There was a great museum based in the 17th century stables that went over the estate's history. A charter in 1474 was the first mention of a castle, and the Antonine Wall runs through the western grounds, along with the fantastic remains of a Roman Fortlet.
While the wall was the least pronounced in this park, there was a real surprise of finding a Roman Fortlet further up:
4 - Polmont Church Ruins
While this doesn't pertain to the Antonine Wall, while in Polmont I found a church ruin in a graveyard; while the priest in the functioning church next door knew nothing about it's history, the shots I got of the crumbling ruin were too good not to share, especially for architecture for Silent Tombs:
Apologies again for the radio silence these last few weeks, I hope you guys enjoyed this lost post! I only posted some of the best pics but I'm happy to share any of these pics and more if any interested readers want to use them for their own purposes.
Stay posted, we'll share more when we can!