Inscription from Moresby

British Museum
Inscription from Moresby © David Gill

A Latin inscription, cut on sandstone, was found at the site of the Roman fort at Moresby in Cumbria during the construction of the church there in 1822 (RIB 801). The inscription was then displayed at Lowther Castle near Penrith, the home of the Earls of Lonsdale. The inscription was sold at Sotheby’s (London) on 1 December 1969 and it was acquired by the British Museum in 1970 (inv. 1970,0102.2).

The findspot suggests that the inscription was displayed over the east gate of the fort. The inscription is dated to the reign of the emperor Hadrian (between 128 and 138), and records the work of the 20th Valeria Victrix Legion.

Moresby is located 8 km north of St Bees’ Head and served as one of the forts defending the Cumbrian coast as part of the extension to the fixed frontier of Hadrian’s Wall. It was possibly known as Gabrosentum.

The inscription features in the latest Handbook to the Roman Wall.

Author: David Gill

David Gill is Honorary Professor in the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History and an Academic Associate in SISJAC at UEA; Professor of Archaeological Heritage.

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