Catapults, crafts and community – the Roman’s return to The Chester House Estate this summer

Posted 18th June 2024

A two-day Roman Festival, organised in partnership with the University of Leicester’s Heritage Hub, is a free event taking place on Saturday, 22 and Sunday, 23 June.

It will include Roman-style military demonstrations, Roman jewellery making, hairdressers and craft demonstrations, and Roman themed stalls and craft activities from a host of different heritage organisations working in Northamptonshire and beyond. The festival also includes the unique opportunity to see an excavation in progress, ask questions of the experts and have the chance to wash real Roman objects found during the excavations.

Stalls from more than 20 local museums, community archaeology groups and archaeological companies from Northamptonshire and beyond will provide the opportunity for real Roman artefacts to be handled, and historic demonstrations of ancient weaving, spinning, loom and nalbinding techniques will be available to see.

Exclusive to this year, the Estate is showcasing a pop-up exhibition of artwork by Northampton College students,inspired by the Romans and objects within the onsite Northamptonshire Archaeological Resource Centre (ARC).

Sarah Scott, Professor of Archaeology, at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, explained:

“The University of Leicester Heritage Hub is delighted to be working with the Chester House Estate to deliver this exciting event. This year, alongside our extensive plans for the Irchester Field School excavation, the team have expanded our offering at Roman Fest.

“In addition to popular favourites last year, visitors now have a chance to learn the basics of osteoarchaeology (the study of human bones) how to determine the height, age and sex from a skeleton with PhD students and volunteers researching collections at the ARC, and can look at archaeological objects with microscopes, taking place in a pop-up Archaeological Laboratory run by University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History.”

Roman Fest 2024 will take place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June, 10am – 4pm both days. This is a free event, however visitors must book a ticket due to the popularity of the weekend-long event. Visit the Chester House Estate website to book your free ticket.

Claudius Way is the estate’s main visitor car park and is accessed through the Prologis Park Wellingborough. Visitors must use the NN8 2DH postcode to find this entrance.  The Lime Avenue A45 entrance will strictly be for blue badge holders only.