Reading Hadrian’s Wall: 11

11. Mothersole Hadrian’s Wall Lane

This rather endearing little book provides a fine contrast to Mark Richards’ guide to walking the Wall and belongs in a tradition of early tourists’ accounts of travelling along Hadrian’s Wall that began with William Hutton. She even gets mentioned in Hingley’s book (No.9), for her pains. Jessie Mothersole was a peripatetic watercolourist and illustrated her own books, which are rather gentle accounts of her journeys (mainly through Roman Britain, Hadrian’s Wall being just one of them). It is Jessie who proves that The Wall Weed in Sycamore Gap is not now in its original position (which was in the small circular stell behind the Wall) and has subsequently crept over to its present vandalising location. You can buy her book if you wish but it is in fact freely available at the Internet Archive if you don’t mind reading online or in an ereader. If you want a dead-tree version (some do), it is best to buy a secondhand copy as the ‘new’ books are all print-on-demand reprints of varying quality and may not render the colour plates in the original and all-important colour.

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