About Rigorevali

The name "RIGORE VALI" is taken from the inscription on the Staffordshire Patera discovered in 2000, an enamelled bowl which gives the names of a number of the western forts on Hadrian's Wall. The words "RIGORE VALI" have been interpreted as meaning "on the line of the wall".

RIGOREVALI is the trading name used by Robin Brown, who has been involved in Roman "Living History", or "Re-enactment" if you prefer, since 1992, when he joined the Welsh-based Roman group, Legio VIII Augusta MGV. He has held the post of Events Co-ordinator for over a decade.

The Production Process

RIGOREVALI operates about 100 metres from the line of Hadrian's Wall, in modern Carlisle, not far from the site of VXELODUNUM, the largest fort on the Wall. All our products are hand made within sight of the course of Hadrian's Wall.

Back in the early days, if you wanted any Roman equipment, you pretty much had to make it for yourself, and so Robin and his helpers developed a broad range of skills which helped the Society to grow and flourish in subsequent years.

Making Ancient Shoes

Before I can start making a pair of shoes, the first stage in the process is to create a last, or a foot mould on which the shoes can be stretched into shape.

Unlike modern shoes, Roman ones don’t normally have a raised heel or toe, which means that modern commercial shoe lasts aren’t much use for making Roman shoes, as they are the wrong shape.

Once the lasts have been prepared, either bespoke ones for an individual customer, or standard stock sizes, the next process is to create the pattern for the upper leatherwork, or to adjust an existing design to the correct size required. Again, this can be complex where there is a significant difference between the size of an existing pattern and the one required, as feet don’t grow evenly all over like a photographic enlargement. Sometimes it is quicker to start again from scratch.

Read More About Making Ancient Shoes