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£2m bid accepted to save Binchester Roman fort

Binchester Roman Town Photo:

Church Commissioners have announced that they are accepting a £2million bid by the Auckland Castle Trust to save Binchester Roman Town.

The Auckland Castle Trust launched a bid in August to prevent Binchester being bought by developers when the church put the remains up for sale in two parts.

Dr Chris Ferguson, Auckland Castle’s head curator, said he was delighted the settlement dubbed the ‘Pompeii of the North’ would remain as one entity for the benefit of everyone.

“This is wonderful news and we are delighted that Binchester will now be protected for future generations.

“Contracts still have to be exchanged, but the Auckland Castle Trust has successfully come through the tender process as the preferred bidder and now we can start to look to the future of this vitally important site and ensure its past and status as one of not just Britain’s but Europe’s most important Roman sites is secured.

“Our first priorities are to secure the site for the winter, work with Durham County Council and English Heritage to help shape Binchester’s future and to start pulling together plans to ensure the Roman remains continue to be available for archaeologists and the public to enjoy for generations to come."

– Dr Chris Ferguson, Auckland Castle’s head curator

The Church Commissioners put 10 plots on the market with Binchester contained within lots five and six.

The fort a mile from Auckland Castle hit the international headlines in the summer when it was revealed archaeologists had uncovered some of the most 'exciting historical finds in living memory'. These include a bath house with seven foot high walls, painted plaster, its original floor, doorways and window openings and an inscribed altar dedication to the Roman Goddess Fortune the Home-bringer.

“The importance of Binchester cannot be over-stated and we look forward to thinking about how we will improve it to create a major heritage attraction for the North East that will provide a significant economic boost to the local area.”

– Dr Chris Ferguson, Auckland Castle’s head curator