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Now you see it…

October 5, 2008

What's left of the Roman fort at Ilkley

Here are the remains of the Roman fort in Ilkley, Yorkshire

….and now you see quite a lot of the rest of it:Ilkley Manor House museum, largely built with stone from the Roman fort

… re-used by medieval builders and currently housing the local Museum and Art Gallery.  It was a delight to meet many of the Friends of the Manor House last week. They were running an event in conjunction with the Ilkley Literature Festival.

In fact the whole town was getting in the mood – here’s a photo which doesn’t do justice to the display in the window of Betty’s Tea Shop:

Photo of Ilkley Literature Festival cake in shop window

It was a fun evening, due in no small part to the hard work of Mary Bentham, the Education Officer at the museum, who’s realised that the secret of drawing an audience is to offer food and wine in the ticket price. Here are some of the wonderful Roman snacks she created, based on recipes from Apicius and Cato:

Roman-style food on table

I’d never been to Ilkley before, but it’s well worth a visit. The Romans knew how to pick a good site. Looking north-east from the fort they would have seen this:

View of River Wharfe

…and looking south, they had a fine view of the famous Ilkley Moor:

Town with moor in background

Rock art stretching way back before the Romans has been found up on the moors. A short walk up there (certainly not without a hat, it was cold) revealed that the locals are continuing this fine tradition:

Names carved in rock on Ilkley moor

although somebody ought to tell Ronaldo and Jason (whose work will not be dignified here with a photo) that using a felt-tip is cheating.

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2 comments

  1. The Roman food looks enticing! But I can’t see any stuffed dormice. Maybe it’s a conservation issue. What were they stuffed with anyway? Must dust off my Apicius.


  2. Pork? (WHY?) Bizarrely, I’ve just looked up ‘stuffed dormice’ on Google and the first link that comes up is http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/northamptonshire/3080263.stm – the site where I dig every summer! Must have a word with the farmer & see if he’s still got any descendants of escapees on site.



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