Condercum, or Benwell as it’s now called, was one of 13 permanent forts along Hadrian’s Wall. The fort itself can no longer be visited, as it’s covered on the north side by a Victorian reservoir and to the south by 1930s housing. However, this housing estate does hide a few surprises.
The Benwell Roman Temple was once a small temple dedicated to the native god Antenociticus. Antenociticus is thought to have been a local Celtic god because there are no mentions of the deity at any other British or European Roman sites.
The temple was originally located in the vicus, or the civilian settlement that stood outside the fort. At some point, the temple became a cemetery as three skeletons were excavated at the site.
Benwell Vallum Crossing is another historic site a short walk away, but also hidden amid the residential area. The crossing is a stone-built causeway, where the road from the south crossed the Vallum earthwork on its way to Benwell Fort.
Know Before You Go
Benwell Temple is incongruously sited on a small neat lawn between two houses. There is limited on-street parking, so please don't block driveways or restrict access. A few parking bays are available on West Road next to the Khyber Cafe, from where it's easy to walk to both the temple and Vallum Crossing.
If you are lucky, some of the older residents may come out and tell you about the finds they have come across in their gardens.