Reading Hadrian’s Wall: 10

10. Breeze Handbook to the Roman Wall SANT

Colloquially known as The Purple Brick, this is less of a field guide than a portable reference book. Everything you could possibly need to know about every inch of Hadrian’s Wall, with a pretty decent introductory section. Its origins lie in Collingwood Bruce’s original Wallet-Book of the Roman Wall: a Guide to Pilgrims Journeying Along the Barrier of the Lower Isthmus from 1863, which became a Hand-book and then (as the Handbook) evolved through several editions (and editors, who gradually – and inevitably: times change – hacked away at the original text and illustrations, each making it it their own). Secondhand editions of old Handbooks are even collected by some murophiles. To modern tastes, the various walking guides (like Mark Richards’, described earlier) are probably better companions (but less likely to be up to the mark factually). True nerds will of course have two Bricks – one for reference at home and a tatty one for taking into the field; the very thought that anybody might not is, frankly, baffling to me. Amazon  Hive does not have it.

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