The word “fence” originates with the Latin defensus, which evolved to the French fens. By the 17th century it clearly meant “a structure serving as a barrier, boundary, or enclosure, usually made of posts or stakes joined together by boards, wires, or rails. It surrounds, separates, keeps away, defends.”
The first fences were built by the Greeks, but not in their hometowns! They built fences in conquered areas to clearly indicate to other factions what property the Greeks had claimed. The Romans adopted the practice and, when they conquered Britannia during the reign of Hadrian (122 AD) they built a border fence along the northernmost edge of the Roman Empire.
Running from the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth near the Irish Sea, the Villum Hadriani (Hadrian’s wall) provided a defensive fortification.
It stands today, which is a testament to the brilliance of ancient Roman engineers, who did all their calculating using Roman numerals!
Today’s fences still provide for the safety of the property owners’ children, pets, and property, but are also an opportunity to express personality and style! With so many different products available – including stone! – no two fences need to look alike anymore.