Dear TAS Members and Friends,
As many of you may already know from regional and national media coverage, the Church Commissioners are selling a number of plots in the Bishop Auckland area. Two of these, being sold separately, include the archaeological remains associated with the Roman fort and civilian settlement – now renowned for the spectacular discoveries made by the ongoing research project. Dr David Petts, Durham University, has distributed a call-to-action which follows.
The Auckland Castle Trust have not only placed a wholly reasonable bid of £2M but have also set up an online petition which takes a few seconds to complete using the link, below. Once you have signed, and you can add an optional comment too, please take a moment to share on Facebook and Twitter if you have an account. It’s easy using the share buttons on the Change.org petition page. Also feel free to forward this email far and wide. Many thanks.
Save Binchester Roman Fort
A message from Dr David Petts, Durham University
As many of you know, the Roman fort at Binchester, site of our fieldschool, has been put up for sale by its owners, the Church Commissioners. Worryingly, the site has been divided into separate lots. They owners are selling 10 lots of land (remains of the Bishop Auckland Estate) to the North and East of the town. These include Toft Hill Farm, Binchester Hall Farm, and the Bishop Auckland Golf Course (the old High Park). Two lots, Binchester Hall and Binchester Hall Farm bisect the Roman town more-or-less along the alignment of Dere Street. One lot includes Binchester Hall, the visitor car park, centre, and bath house. The other lot includes the remainder of the fort and is associated with the adjacent farm.
Worryingly, Binchester Hall has planning permission for development, which could affect public access to the Roman site. Additionally, if both lots fall to separate owners, any future access to the site, and research, would be at jeopardy.
Auckland Castle Trust have raised substantial funds to help save the fort for the nation, and work with Durham University and Durham County Council to alleviate the risk of development. However, we need for the offer to be accepted by the Church Commissioners. To help emphasise the level of local, regional and national support for this initiative, it would be great if you could raise your concerns with the Church Commissioners through our change.org petition, and helping us circulate this call via email and social media:
Images above | David Petts in the vicus bath house © Northern Echo; Pre-Constantinian Christian finger ring from 2014 Binchester excavations © Durham University.
Press and Media coverage
An assessment of the issues at stake can be read on this blog post, and in the media:
About the Binchester research programme
Information on the recent excavations led by Durham University, which are jeopardised by the proposed sale, can be found here:
Spencer Carter | TAS Chair & eCommunications
Header and footer images | Binchester excavations 2014 © S Carter.
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