Flavinus' Tombstone

At the bottom of the Night Stair, stands a sandstone memorial to a Roman standard bearer. Dating from the 1st century, this stone may seem incongruous in the Abbey, but it is a reminder of the Roman domination of this part of England, centuries before Wilfrid arrived.

This memorial slab, which stands nearly nine feet high, was found in 1881 under part of the floor of the Abbey. It is the largest example of its kind to have been found in England.

The tombstone is dedicated to Flavinus, and the carved inscription translates as:

To the Venerated Departed: Here Lies Flavinus
A Horse Rider of the Cavalry Regiment of Petriana
Standard Bearer of the Troop of Candidus
Aged 25, of 7 Years’ Service

The scene carved on the stone represents a mounted soldier riding over a prostrate barbarian. The soldier is wearing a helmet with a high crest and plume; round his neck is a torque, which indicates his high rank. He is carrying a standard, which displays the sun god in a circle. The barbarian, by contrast, is naked and carries a large oval shield and a short, leaf-shaped sword.

It is not known where this memorial stone originated, but it is likely that it came from the remains of the Roman settlement at Corbridge, as did most of the stone used to build Wilfrid’s original church.

Flavinus' Tombstone