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Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the track to Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 in wall miles 22 and 23

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the track to Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 in wall miles 22 and 23

List entry Number: 1010626

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Acomb

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Corbridge

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Sandhoe

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Wall

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 26048

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Hadrian's Wall marks one of the frontiers of the Roman Empire. The international importance of the surviving remains has been recognised through designation as a World Heritage Site. The military importance of the Tyne-Solway route across the Pennines was recognised by the Romans during their early campaigns through northern England and into Scotland in the second half of the first century AD. At this time a military road, the Stanegate, was constructed along with a series of forts. Subsequently the Romans largely withdrew from Scotland and there is evidence that the Tyne-Solway route was being recognised as a frontier by the start of the second century AD. This position was consolidated in the early second century by the construction of a substantial frontier work, Hadrian's Wall, under the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian's successor, Antoninus Pius, subsequently attempted to establish the boundary further north, between the Clyde and the Firth of Forth, but by c.AD 160 growing unrest amongst the native populations of northern Britain and pressures elsewhere in the Empire caused a retraction back to the Hadrianic line. Hadrian's Wall was then the frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain until c.AD 400 when the Roman armies withdrew from Britain. Stretching over 70 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian's Wall was a continuous barrier built of stone in the east and, initially, of turf in the west. The stone wall was originally designed to be ten Roman feet wide and sections of this width are termed broad wall. A change of plan shortly after construction began led to a reduction in the width of the Wall to eight Roman feet, such sections being termed narrow wall. Today, stretches of both wall types survive, including some sections of narrow wall built on broad wall foundations. For most of its length a substantial ditch on the northern side provided additional defence. Where the Wall crossed rivers, bridges were constructed to carry it across. Construction of the Wall was organised and executed by legionary soldiers. From the beginning the barrier was planned to comprise more than just a curtain wall. At regularly spaced intervals of about a mile along its length lay small walled fortlets known as milecastles. These were attached to the southern side of the Wall and most had a gateway through the Wall to the north. Hence they controlled crossing points through the Wall as well as affording space for a small stable garrison. Between the milecastles were two equally spaced towers known as turrets. Together the milecastles and turrets provided bases from which the curtain wall could be watched and patrolled. Both the turrets and milecastles are thought to have been higher than the Wall itself to provide suitable observation points. It is often assumed that a platform existed on the Wall so that troops could actually patrol along the wall top; it is however far from certain that this was the case. At the western end of the Wall a system of towers, small fortlets and palisade fences extended the frontier system another 30 miles or so down the Cumbrian coast and helped control shipping moving across the estuary of the Solway Firth. As originally planned, and apart from whatever space there was in the milecastles, provision for the accommodation of garrison troops manning the Wall was left with the line of forts which already lay along the Stanegate. At some point a fundamental change of plan took place and forts were constructed along the line of the Wall itself. There are now known to have been 16 forts either attached to the Wall or in close association with it. Some overlay earlier features such as turrets or milecastles. At this stage another linear element, the vallum, was also added to the defensive system to the south of the Wall. This was a broad flat-bottomed ditch flanked by a pair of linear banks. It shadows the course of the Wall for almost all its length, sometimes lying very close to it but sometimes up to a kilometre away from it. The vallum's main function was to act as a barrier to restrict access to the Wall from the south. It also had a function in linking the forts along the Wall with a method of lateral communication. When the forts were placed along the wall line no provision was made for a road to link them. This situation was clearly found impracticable and a metalled track was therefore provided in places along the vallum between the north mound and the ditch. Later, after the withdrawal back to the Hadrianic line from the Antonine Wall, various refurbishments were made throughout the frontier line. At this stage a new linear feature was added: the `Military Way'. This was a road linking all elements of the Wall defence, running from fort to fort within the area bounded by the Wall and the vallum. Throughout its long history the Wall was not always well maintained. It was often neglected and sometimes overrun, but it remained in use until the late fourth century when a weak and divided Roman Empire finally withdrew its armies from the Wall and Britain. It now survives in various states of preservation. In places, especially in the central section, the Stone Wall still remains several courses high and the attached forts, turrets and milecastles are also clearly indentifiable. Earthwork features such as the ditch, vallum and Military Way also survive well in places. Elsewhere the Stone Wall has been virtually robbed out and only its foundations survive beneath the present ground surface. Similarly, stretches of the earthwork remains, including sections of the Turf Wall, have been levelled or infilled and now only survive as buried features. Although some sections of the frontier system no longer survive visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be fairly accurately identified throughout most of its length.

Hadrian's Wall and vallum and their associated features between the track to Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 survive well as a series of buried and upstanding remains. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time will be preserved.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall, vallum and associated features between the track to Portgate Cottage in the east and the field boundary to the east of milecastle 24 in the west. This section follows a straight alignment throughout its length and links the crests of the high ground along this length. Hadrian's Wall runs beneath the B6318 road for the entire length of this section. The wall ditch and upcast mound to the north survive well as upstanding earthworks for most of the length of this section. The ditch averages 2m deep throughout, though it reaches a maximum of 2.8m in places. The upcast mound from the ditch, usually known as the `glacis', survives up to a maximum of 1m in height to the north of the ditch. Milecastle 23 is situated about 50m east of the Stanley Plantation on the south side of the B6318 road on an east facing slope. It survives as a turf covered platform about 1m high with traces of a ditch around it. It was partly excavated in 1930 and it was shown to have an internal width of 15m and walls 2.9m thick. Turret 22b is located about 10m west of the track to Portgate House and Cottage off the B6318 road. It survives as a buried feature beneath the B6318 road. It was partly excavated during 1930. Turret 23a is expected to be located about 260m east of the west edge of the Stanley Plantation on the basis of the normal spacing. Turret 23b is expected to be located about 100m east of the road to Oakwood on the basis of the normal spacing. The Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between the Wall and the vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts, occupies the north mound of the vallum throughout the whole length of this section. It survives well and is visible as an upstanding earthwork. The vallum runs parallel to the Wall throughout this section. It survives very well for most of this section and is clearly visible as an upstanding earthwork. The north and south mounds reach a height of 1.8m, while the vallum ditch reaches a depth of 3m in places. There was limited excavation of the vallum during 1952 near milecastle 23 when it was shown that the north mound was broken by a gap giving access to the milecastle. A causeway across the vallum ditch would also have been required at this point. The ditch, however, appeared to have been recut, indicating that the access route to the milecastle changed through the main period of use of the Wall. All road surfaces and field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Bruce, J C, Handbook to the Roman wall, (1863), 103
Bruce, J C, Handbook to the Roman wall, (1863), 102

National Grid Reference: NY 97047 69032

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2018 at 12:31:01.

End of official listing