Roman Signal Station, 270m south west of Punchbowl Bridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Eden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 82934 14858

Reasons for Designation

Roman signal stations were rectangular towers of stone or wood situated within ditched, embanked, palisaded or walled enclosures. They were built by the Roman army for military observation and signalling by means of fire or smoke. They normally formed an element of a wider system of defence and signalling between military sites such as forts and camps and towns, generally as part of a chain of stations to cover long distances. In northern England stations were used in particular to augment the main frontier formed by Hadrian's Wall, but elsewhere stations were constructed along the coast to keep lookout over the sea and to signal information both along the coast and to inland sites. Signal stations were constructed and used in Britain mainly during three distinct periods. The earliest examples were built between AD 50 and AD 117 for use during the earliest military campaigns during the conquest period. Signal stations at this period took the form of a wooden tower surrounded by a ditch and bank and possibly a slight timber palisade. After AD 117 towers were more usually built in stone, some on the same site as earlier timber towers. The latest series, in the mid-4th century AD, were more substantial stone signal stations built mainly along the Yorkshire coast. These had a tower up to 30m high which was surrounded by a curtain wall and external ditch. Signal stations survive as low earthworks, or their below ground remains may be identified on aerial photographs. Fewer than 50 examples have been identified in England. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy, government policy and the pattern of military control, signal stations are of importance to our understanding of the period. All Roman signal stations with surviving archaeological remains are considered to be nationally important. The Roman Signal Station, 270m south west of Punchbowl Bridge is preserved as an earthwork and will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. Its significance is heightened because the location of other associated signal stations is also known. The monument is representative of its period and provides insight into the importance of communication during the Roman occupation of England.


The monument includes the remains of a Roman signal station situated on a knoll with views across the western approach to the Stainmore Pass over the Pennines. The signal station survives as an earthwork with a circular platform about 10m in diameter surrounded by a 4m to 7m wide ditch. The platform has a depression in its top and the ditch is surrounded by a broad, flat-topped outer bank with indications of an entrance on its south west side. The signal station is sited about 0.5km north of the Bowes to Brougham Roman Road which uses the pass. It is intervisible with a signal station just over 1km to the west (included in the scheduled area of SM32897) and 1.5km to the east (Johnsons Plain Signal Station excavated in 1988-89).

SOURCES PastScape Monument No:- 15925 NMR:- NY81SW1 Cumbria HER:- 1840


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
CU 520
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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