National Roman Legion Museum

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National Roman Legion Museum


Amgueddfa'r Lleng Rhufeinig.JPG
The National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon
Type: Museum
Grid reference: ST33949057
Location: 51°36’36"N, 2°57’19"W
Town: Caerleon
Owned by: [Amgueddfa Cymry – National Museum Wales

The National Roman Legion Museum is a museum in Caerleon, Monmouthshire. It is one of three Roman sites in Caerleon, along with the Baths museum and the open-air ruins of the amphitheatre and barracks. It is part of the wider network of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.


Main article: Isca Augusta

During the Roman period, the fortress at Isca Augusta, now Caerleon, served as a strongpoint on the narrow pass between the lands of the Severn and those of Glamorgan. It was built in 75 AD, and was one of only three permanent Roman Legionary fortresses in Britain. It was occupied and operational for just over 200 years.

The National Roman Legion Museum lies inside what remains of the fortress, and contains many artefacts from the period of Isca Augusta of Legio II Augusta from Roman currency to uniforms.

A short walk from the National Roman Legion Museum is the remains of Isca Augusta:

  • Part of the military bath house in the Roman Baths Museum
  • The most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain
  • Sections of the fortress walls
  • The only remains of a Roman legionary barracks on view anywhere in Europe at Prysg Field


The original museum

The museum is located in the centre of Roman Isca, on what was the via principalis leading to the amphitheatre.[1]

The first museum building was the Antiquarian Museum of 1850. This was built to a design by Henry Francis Lockwood of Hull, a simple box-shaped building of Bath stone. Its only architectural feature of note was the pillared portico in the Greek Doric style. Little is known of the original building but it is known to have re-used ship's timbers in its roof and stone details from the Old Market House of Caerleon which had been demolished shortly before.[2] It is often claimed that the timbers are from HMS Collingwood, although this ship was in service at the time and had no obvious connection to Newport.

The museum building was Grade II listed in 1951, but was largely demolished during the 1987 rebuilding and enlargement of the museum.[3] Only the portico now remains. The new building is in a modernist style, but equally featureless and windowless as the original.

As of February 2019, the site is being redeveloped and is closed to the public until autumn 2019. It will continue to offer facilities for local schools.

Legionary museum model.JPG

See also

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about National Roman Legion Museum)


Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

National Museum CardiffSt Fagans National Museum of HistoryBig Pit National Coal MuseumNational Wool MuseumNational Roman Legion MuseumNational Slate MuseumNational Waterfront Museum