All set for Big Roman Week 2014

bigromanweek-aug25-final.inddFALKIRK district’s annual Roman festival launches this weekend.

The sixth Big Roman Week kicks off on Saturday, September 13 and runs until Sunday, September 21.

Walks, talks, family events, a film show and arts and library activities have all been lined to get local people to explore their “Roman roots” and appreciate local history. Most events are free of charge.

The Week coincides with the birthday of Emperor Antoninus Pius (born 19 September, 86 AD) – the Roman leader who ordered the construction of the Antonine Wall from Bo’ness, right across Falkirk district, to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow. The turf-based Wall became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

This year the main festival events are in Bonnybridge, Falkirk, Polmont and Bo’ness.

Organisers The Friends of Kinneil charity have joined forces with a range of bodies, including Falkirk Community Trust and Falkirk Council to run the festival.

The programme starts with Roman events for children in Bonnybridge and Bo’ness Libraries – as well as a workshop in Callendar House – on Saturday, September 13. There will also be a showing of the musical “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum” in the Bo’ness Hippodrome.

Other highlights will include:

  • talks by archaeologists and history experts – including one of the “Scottish Ten” team, digitally scanning the Antonine Wall;
  • guided walks to Roman sites – including Rough Castle, beside the Falkirk Wheel; Callendar Park, Falkirk; and Kinneil, Bo’ness;
  • children’s events in Bonnybridge, Bo’ness and Meadowbank Libraries;
  • a Roman encampment at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness – with fun events for all the family; and
  • a link-up with Doors Open Days allowing people to explore Kinneil House and Watling Lodge near the Antonine Wall.

Full details are now online at http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk

You can also get updates via the Friends of Kinneil’s social media channels:

http://www.fb.com/kinneil  and http://www.twitter.com/kinneil

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s tourism spokesman, has been helping to organise this year’s events.

He said: “Big Roman Week is now an annual fixture in the area’s calendar. It aims to make people more aware of the Antonine Wall – which ran right across Falkirk district – and to help people discover history on their doorsteps.

“As well as the more serious talks and walks there will also be fun art sessions and the showing of the Roman musical ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’.”

“The Week will also feature a talk from the Antonine Friendship Link – a local group which supports the people of Jayyous in Palestine. Like Falkirk, Jayyous was occupied in Roman times – however, the people in the area are still divided … this time by a modern Israeli-built wall close to their homes.”

He added: “Please check the main website – http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk – for details. Or pick up a brochure from local libraries and museums.

“We’re particularly grateful to staff within Falkirk Community Trust for supporting Big Roman Week – and everyone who’s made the 2014 festival possible.”


Walks, talks, family events, a film show and art activities have all been lined to get local people to explore their “Roman roots” and appreciate local history. Most events are free of charge.



(Full listings are online at http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk)

  • ALL WEEK – ROMAN DISPLAYS in Bo’ness Library. You can also see Roman exhibitions at Callendar House, Falkirk and Kinneil Museum, Bo’ness.
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – FAMILY EVENTS: ROMAN CRAFTS – at Bonnybridge Library and at Bo’ness Library (both from 11 a.m. to noon). Get free tickets from libraries.
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – FAMILY EVENT: THE ROMAN EXPERIENCE – Children’s workshop at Callendar House, 2 p.m. – 3.30 p.m. Free. Book tickets on 01324 506850.
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 – FILM:  A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (PG).  Hilarious film version of the smash-hit Broadway musical. Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’ness, from 2.30 p.m. Tickets £6.30 (£4.80 concessions).
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – WALK THE WALL: POLMONT TO FALKIRK. Join archaeologist Geoff Bailey as he leads a guided walk along the line of the Antonine Wall: from Polmont Old Parish Church to Callendar House. Free. No need to book, just turn up.
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – TALK: LIVING WITH THE WALL. Lunchtime talk at the Green Room in Callendar House by Bob Philip and Kate Arnott, members of the Antonine Friendship Link. Cost £7. To book tickets, please call 01324 506850.
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – WALK: ROMAN KINNEIL.  Leaves from outside Kinneil Museum at 2 p.m. Free. No need to book, just turn up.
  • TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 – FAMILY EVENT: CHATTERBOOKS ROMAN READING GROUP. Great Roman-themed, after-school activity for children aged 7-12 years. 3.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Meadowbank Library, Polmont, FK2 0GU. Free, just turn up.
  • WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 – TALK: THE SCOTTISH TEN. Find out about the project to digitally document the Antonine Wall – including work at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, and Bar Hill in Lanarkshire. Upstairs meeting room at Bo’ness Library from 7.30 p.m. Free, no need to book, just turn up.
  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18  – TALK: THE ANTONINE WALL – THE LINEAR BARRIER. With Geoff Bailey. Upstairs large meeting room at Bo’ness Library from 2 p.m. Please get a free ticket in advance from the library.
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – KINNEIL HOUSE OPEN DAY. Historic Kinneil House, built next to the Antonine Wall, is open for free tours from noon to 3 p.m. (last admission 2.30 p.m.)
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 – FAMILY EVENT: BIG ROMAN DAY AT KINNEIL. Roman fun day outside Kinneil House, with Roman re-enactment group The Antonine Guard, kite flying, Roman art sesisons and more. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free. No need to book. Just turn up.
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 and SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – WATLING LODGE OPEN DAYS. See inside this 19th century villa, built on one of the best preserved stretches of the Antonine Wall. Off Tamfourhill Road, Falkirk. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 20 and from 12.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Sunday, September 21. Other sites in Falkirk are also open as part of Doors Open Days on September 20 and 21. See http://j.mp/dod-falkirk
  • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 – WALK THE WALL: CALLENDAR HOUSE TO ROUGH CASTLE. Join archaeologist Geoff Bailey as he leads a guided walk along the line of the Antonine Wall: leaving Callendar House in Falkirk and heading to Rough Castle, beside the Falkirk Wheel. No need to book, just turn up.

Full details are online at http://www.bigromanweek.org.uk

You can also find leaflets in local libraries and museums.

A copy of the printed brochure can also be downloaded from http://j.mp/brw2014



  • The Antonine Wall was built by the Emperor Antoninus Pius to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule. Unlike the stone-built Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall consisted of a rampart of soil, faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It stood 12 feet high, and was protected on the north side by a wide, deep V-shaped ditch. It was abandoned around AD 160, when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Today many parts of the Antonine Wall lie under towns and settlements, built long after the Romans departed Scotland. However evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.
  • The Bo’ness and Falkirk areas are fortunate in having a number of highly visible parts of the Antonine Wall. As well as the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil, Bo’ness, and a fort at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, the wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods, Watling Lodge at Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk and Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge.
  • There are also free exhibitions on the Romans in local museums: Callendar House, Falkirk, and Kinneil in Bo’ness. (Outside the district, there are displays in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch, the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.)
  • The Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2008.