Jane is the proud custodian of Senhouse’s renowned Roman antiquities


JANE Laskey went to the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport as a volunteer 25 years ago.

Today, as director of the museum, she looks after the largest collection of Roman military altars and inscriptions ever found on a single site in Britain.

It is also the oldest surviving antique collection in the country and includes a sequence of annually dedicated military altars dating from the reign of Emperor Hadrian and beyond.

This gives first-hand information about the garrisons stationed at the fort, where they came from, the names of the commanders, and the gods they worshipped.

Jane said the Senhouse family’s history as collectors is fascinating. The collection was first recorded in the 1570s when John Senhouse was praised by William Camden, the Elizabethan antiquarian, for his careful preservation of the Roman site and the collection.

Jane said she didn’t like school history – learning the dates and reigns of kings, but was fascinated by archaeology.

She was blessed with parents who took her to museums, galleries and heritage sites from an early age, which nurtured her interests.

“As a child, I even had my own little museum in the garden shed, displaying all the pieces I found in the garden.”

Jane LakeyThe Duke of Gloucester is shown the Senhouse Roman Museum and the remains of the adjacent Roman Fort with Chief Archaeologist Tony Wilmott and Museum Director Jane Laskey

Jane said she moved to Cumbria by accident: “I was planning on spending a summer climbing in the Lake District and somehow forgot to come home.”

She came to Maryport and joined the Friends of the Senhouse Museum when it first opened to the public in 1990.

“I started volunteering at the museum in 1997 when the lovely Carol Gray was the museum director and she offered me a job as a museum assistant in 1998.

“I became director in 2002, in my final year of a degree in Archeology and Heritage Management at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle. I then studied for a Masters in Museum Studies via distance learning at the University of Leicester .”

Jane said she is happy to help anyone who wants to research the collection – whether locals or PhD students!

“I’m very passionate about the museum’s role in getting everyone excited and engaged with their heritage and what the objects can tell us about the people who lived here before us.”


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