Flavinus Day

Come to Hexham and celebrate Flavinus! with a host of Roman activities and displays, with food to match!

On August Bank holiday Monday in conjuction with Hexham Town Council, we celebrate all things Roman,  with a host of activities and displays centered around Hexham’s famous Roman Cavalryman.

11.00am - 5.00pm, free to attend.


Flavinus Day will see a host of free, inclusive activities and entertainment taking place for all ages – the event appeals to young and old, avid history fans, and total Roman novices.

There will be a programme of displays, talks, demos and workshops, as well as hands on activities for children including pottery, face painting, archery and a giant inflatable jousting arena!!

Come and see some Roman infantry tactics and witness shield drill training taking place on the Cloister Lawn at 11am, 1pm & 3pm.

A detailed exhibition will be on display inside the Abbey, with tours available focusing on the incredible collection of Roman relics including the Flavinus tombstone itself.

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Find out more about the incredible Flavinus Tombstone.


Price: FREE

When: Monday, August 27, 2018 - 11:00 to 17:00

Where: Hexham Abbey Grounds

Why Flavinus Day?

The Flavinus tombstone is one of the main historical displays inside the Abbey.  Flavinus himself was a signifier or standard- bearer in Candidus’s troop of the ALA PETRIANA. The tombstone probably stood once in the military cemetery near the fort of CORIA Corbridge; that was where the Petrian cavalry was based as Rome extended its grip over the Tyne Valley in the years from 79AD.  How it came to be discovered in the Abbey is a mystery!

The ALA PETRIANA, the Petrian Cavalry Regiment, came from Gaul. Gaul had come under Roman rule during the 1st century BC, conquered by disciplined, heavily armed legions of citizen infantry. Once such lands were subdued the Roman army recruited auxiliary regiments from the subject peoples, to serve alongside the legions.

The ALA PETRIANA took its name from the Roman noble, Titus Pomponius Petra, who first commanded it. Auxiary cavalry regiments numbered about 500 horsemen in 16 troops (TURMAE) of some 32 men, each commanded by a decurion like Candidus. Flavinus’s regiment had a long and distinguished history, but most of it came after the young soldier’s early death. It was nearly doubled in strength to 24 troops or nearly 800 men, becoming a ‘milliary’ ala; its Gaulish warriors were awarded Roman citizenship. It was granted the title ‘Emperor’s own’ (AUGUSTA), and the whole unit was twice decorated for gallantry by the award of the coveted torque, the neck-ring. These honours were eventually reflected in the regiment’s full title: ALA AUGUSTA GALLORUA PETRIANA MILLIARIA BIS TORQUATA CIVIUM ROMANORUM. Flavinus died before these titles were added, some time before 98AD. About that time the regiment moved from Tynedale and served in southern Scotland, eventually settling at the large fort of UXELODUNUM, Stanwix, near Carlisle.

To this day the Flavinus tombstone is a reminder of the great power and skill of the Roman Cavalry Regiments.  On the 27th August, Flavinus Day is set to educate and celebrate all things Roman in the town of Hexham, with specific attention paid to the elite troops housed around the area.

Exhibition - Who was Flavinus?

Inside the Abbey we have a detailed exhibition revealing the story behind Flavinus and his intriging past.  A series of panels explores his roots, passage to Northumberland, way of life, and of course the elite cavalry units he represented.

Discover the Celtic side of the story - shield design and face painting

Venutius will provide the Celtic response to the Roman invasion, discussing the famous tomb stone of Flavinus, found face down in the Abbey entrance during renovation.  Looking at the hidden meaning of the naked Barbarian with his sword pointed at Flavinus - Roman propaganda or true depiction of a battle?

Families can take part in Celtic shield design and face painting.

Clay disk making and the Festival of Diana

Antonia will discuss the Festival of Diana. Roman festivals played a huge part during the Roman period.  Diana is the goddess of wild nature and the woods.  The historic date of the festival was August the 13th.  Antonia will also discuss herbs and foods the Romans brought to Britain.

Family’s can take part in making clay disks with woodland scenes on them to take home and hang in a tree.

Learn about and experience Roman food

Drop in and chat with Flavia and Solinus about the changes the Roman invasion brought to British diets. 

How was the cuisine of the Empire was interpreted in the Northern outposts?

Ingredients and recipes; shopping lists and seasonal supply chains, imported foodstuffs versus locally sourced substitutes.

Additionally you can sample Roman inspired barbecue!

Roman surgery

Roman Surgeon: Alexandros is a Greek surgeon providing medical care forts on Hadrians wall such as Housesteads and Arbeia. Learn about Roman medical techniques, pharmacy and health during roman Britain.

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