Arm Purse


English Heritage

English Heritage

Arm purses are so-called as they are thought to have been worn on the arm. They have hinged lids, which would have lain, very securely, against the skin. This purse was found in a Roman quarry at Barcombe (about two miles south of Housesteads) in 1837 by a quarryman involved in the building of the Newcastle-Carlisle railway. It contained three gold aureii and 60 denarii, ranging in date from the time of the Republic (509-27 BC) to the reign of Hadrian (AD 117-138). This represents a large sum of money for someone to be carrying around. Did an officer perhaps lose the purse while supervising work constructing the Wall? We can only speculate.

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  • Title: Arm Purse
  • Date Created: Roman
  • Location: Chester Roman Fort
  • Type: Purse
  • Original Source: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT
  • Rights: Trustees of the Clayton Collection and English Heritage
  • Medium: copper alloy
  • Photographer: Bob Smith


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