About Senhouse Roman Museum
Brief History of the Collection
The collection was started in 1570 by John Senhouse, Lord of the Manor of Ellenborough. He collected inscribed stones from the Roman fort and civilian town lying along the coastal ridge above the Manor House and, as was the practice at that time, set them within the walls of the family mansion Netherhall.
In the eighteenth century Colonel Humphrey Senhouse employed a man to preserve and record any carved stonework brought to light during the wholesale removal of much of the Roman Fort to provide building stone for the new town of Maryport. Some idea of the quantity of stone involved can be gained from a visit to Crosscanonby Church. Here, forming the chancel arch, you will see the complete archway to the northeast gate of the fort, re-erected in the church at Humphrey Senhouse's behest.
Netherhall was vacated by the Senhouse family in 1962 and from then on the fabric of the mansion building and the associated outbuildings rapidly deteriorated. Concerns about the future of the collection led Roger Senhouse and Brian Ashmore to recover some 125 items from the ruins of the Mansion in 1965 and place these in the safety of the Mansion's coach house.
The energy and determination of Brian Ashmore and Joe Scott Plummer, heir to the Senhouse estate, led eventually to the housing of the collection in the building known as the Battery (a Royal Naval Artillery Volunteer Drill Hall built in 1885 to train naval gunners) where it has resided since 1990.
Following years of vandalism, and finally a catastrophic fire in 1979, all that now remains of Netherhall itself is the 14C Solar Tower.
(The above text is adapted from the material in the booklet Senhouse Roman Maryport by the late Brian Ashmore)
The Museum Today
The Museum is governed by the Senhouse Museum Trust, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (number 1175131).
A summary of the Museum's Collection Development Policy can be downloaded as a pdf. This outlines what the Museum's collections contain and what the Museum collects.
Images of some of the objects in our collection can be seen in the Image Gallery.
Wednesday 1st April is the 30th anniversary of the museum opening to the public. Although the museum is closed to the public at present (how ironic is that) we are still celebrating, in a quiet, self-isolating way.
We found some photos of the opening in the museum's archive and would like to share these with everyone. The photos were taken by Dorathy Morgan.
The opening was preceded by a parade through Maryport led by the Ermine Street Guard, cheered on by residents of Maryport. The official opening was carried out by the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria, with speeches by Mike Jarrett, Chairman of the Senhouse Museum Trust, and Joe Scott-Plummer, descendent of the Senhouse family and owner of the Netherhall Collection.
We have a year-long programme of events and exhibitions planned for this very special year and our aim is to transfer as much as we can on-line until we can welcome visitors into the museum again.
We are delighted to have won Cumbria Tourism's Visitor Attraction of the Year category at their recent Awards Ceremony. Well done to all the Trustees, staff and volunteers who make the Museum such a great place to visit.