The Senhouse Museum at Maryport houses the Senhouse collection of outstanding Roman objects from the adjacent fort known as Alauna. The collection is one of the most important collections of Roman altars and sculpture in Britain. The core of the collection is a series of 22 altars dedicated by the commanders of the fort at Maryport to Jupiter, the most powerful of all the Roman Gods.
The fort at Maryport formed part of the coastal defences created at the same time as Hadrian’s Wall, extending down the Cumbrian coast to Ravenglass in the Lake District. Maryport was probably an important supply depot for the Roman garrison in north Britain. The fort was garrisoned by a regiment from Spain and its commanders came from all over the Empire including North Africa, Romania, Austria and Italy. The first commander, Marcus Agrippa, was from an important family in Italy who were connected with the Emperor Hadrian. Maryport was an important career posting for Marcus, as for the other commanders who were stationed here for three to four years before moving on to new postings. Marcus went on to become commander of the Roman fleet around Britain, and later, second in command of the Roman Province of Britannia.
A reconstructed watch tower at the museum gives stunning views over the fort and civilian settlement to the Lake District, across the Solway Firth to Scotland and over the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man.
The Museum is run by the Senhouse Museum Trust and staffed mainly by local volunteers.