'Bring me wine': Music festival links ancient Rome to village

Wine expert Oz Clarke, inset, will be one of the big attractions at this year's festival inspired by Aldborough's Roman links <i>(Image: CAUSE UK)</i>
Wine expert Oz Clarke, inset, will be one of the big attractions at this year's festival inspired by Aldborough's Roman links (Image: CAUSE UK)

Ancient Rome and its fondness for wine and music is the inspiration for a prestigious music festival held in a sleepy North Yorkshire village.

The festival, in Aldborough, features the likes of Sir Tony Robinson and Oz Clarke and world-class musicians in its 2024 line-up.

The town's links to the Roman occupation of Britain include a tablet found by archaeologists at Hadrian’s Wall which, was in effect, a shopping list with an instruction to "bring back wine from Aldborough".

Co-director of Aldborough Roman Town Project, Dr Rose Ferraby, whose decade-long archaeological studies have unearthed remarkable evidence of Aldborough's historic relevance said: "It’s quite fitting that music, wine and archaeology come together at the festival."

The village was once the bustling administrative capital of the largest Roman tribe, the Brigantes - and wine played an integral part in daily life.

The Northern Echo: A replica Roman tablet similar to one at Hadrian’s Wall which had an instruction to ‘bring back wine from Aldborough'
The Northern Echo: A replica Roman tablet similar to one at Hadrian’s Wall which had an instruction to ‘bring back wine from Aldborough'

A replica Roman tablet similar to one at Hadrian’s Wall which had an instruction to ‘bring back wine from Aldborough' (Image: CAUSE UK)

The archaeological work of Dr Ferraby and her colleague Martin Millett, an Emeritus Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, has uncovered signs of significant industry, including ironworks and lead for supplying the military on Hadrian’s Wall.

Dr Ferraby said: "It’s long been known Aldborough was the civilian capital of this area, but this new evidence proves that what is now a peaceful, rural idyll was once a significant administrative and industrial centre.

"The Romans were processing lead and supplying the military on Hadrian’s Wall."

The Northern Echo: Click the image above for more local events
The Northern Echo: Click the image above for more local events

Click the image above for more local events (Image: Supplied)

One of the most prized aspects of Roman culture, wine, was a significant component of daily life in this then-thriving hub.

Yorkshire’s most prestigious classical music festival, which marks its 30th year this summer, includes world-class acts normally in the intimate setting of the village’s ancient church.

The Northern Echo: St Andrew's Church is one of the festival's main venues
The Northern Echo: St Andrew's Church is one of the festival's main venues

St Andrew's Church is one of the festival's main venues (Image: CAUSE UK)

The line-up for this year includes Fantasia Orchestra – comprised of Britain’s leading young talent - who open the festival with Leeds Piano Competition winner, Alim Beisembayev, in a programme that features Tchaikovsky’s heartfelt Serenade for Strings.

Other highlights include: one of the world’s greatest violin virtuosos, Vicktoria Mullova; an evening with Time Team’s Sir Tony Robinson; wine expert Oz Clarke narrating The Fairy Queen, performed by the spine-tingling acclaimed choir, Armonico Consort; jazz from Duke Ellington’s ‘natural born heirs’ the Julian Joseph Trio; the Radio 4 comedian with an opera degree, Amy Webber; and sublime pan-flute player Adriana Babin, who at 22 is a bona-fide star in her home country of Moldova.

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Mr Clarke said: “The Roman’s love for wine was more than a passion, it was a way of life.

"Today, we still savour the legacy of their appreciation, as wine continues to be a timeless elixir connecting us to history, music, and culture.”

The Northern Echo: Wine expert Oz Clarke is one of this year's guests
The Northern Echo: Wine expert Oz Clarke is one of this year's guests

Wine expert Oz Clarke is one of this year's guests (Image: CAUSE UK)

Dr Ferraby added: “As well as music, and wine, we hope people who come to the festival will also fall in love with archaeology. Time Team was an inspiration to me as a young archaeologist, so it’s a thrill Sir Tony Robinson is this year’s headline speaker."

Fore more information on the Northern Aldborough Festival, which takes place from June 13 to 22, visit: https://aldboroughfestival.co.uk/