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Markham Cottage Roman temporary camps 1 and 2, a section of the Stanegate Roman road, a length of Roman road and two Roman cemeteries

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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Markham Cottage Roman temporary camps 1 and 2, a section of the Stanegate Roman road, a length of Roman road and two Roman cemeteries

List entry Number: 1010933


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


District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Greenhead


District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Haltwhistle


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: 26019

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 identifiable. 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. Over 40 temporary camps of many different sizes, some of them still visible as earthworks, have been recorded in the vicinity of the Wall. These generally consisted of a rampart of earth quickly thrown up to surround a military encampment. The rampart may have been surmounted by a timber palisade. Occupation of these camps was generally short-lived and, while very few of these examples have been firmly dated, it seems probable that at least some were work camps used by troops involved in the Wall construction. Others may have been created as practice camps during military training; temporary camps were widely used during military campaigning to provide overnight security to troops on the move.

The Stanegate military road linked Corbridge and Carlisle, both of which were also situated on important north-south routeways. It also extended west of Carlisle towards the Cumbrian coast. The construction of a series of forts along the road line allowed many troops to be stationed in this crucial frontier area and ensured that the area could be extensively patrolled. A series of smaller watchtowers were also built to help frontier control. The Stanegate frontier thus created, developed further and was consolidated during the late first and early second century AD and helped crystallise Roman tactics and military expectations in the area. The function of the road and its forts changed when Hadrian's Wall was constructed to the north and their support roles were, initially at least, enhanced. The later history of the road and its forts and their relationship with the Wall are less well understood although, overall, their strategic functions declined as the new frontier line was confirmed. Markham Cottage Roman temporary camps, the section of Stanegate Roman road and the Roman cemetery to the south survive as both upstanding and buried remains, while the ditches of the camps and Stanegate, the cemetery to the north and parts of the cemetery to the south survive as buried features. The rarity of temporary camps, and in particular examples with upstanding remains, identifies them as nationally important. Roadside cemeteries were common in Roman Britain but very few survive as visible features, as is the case here. They demonstrate well the complexity of remains found in the frontier zone and will contribute to any study of Roman burial practice.


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


The monument includes the Markham Cottage Roman temporary camps 1 and 2, two Roman cemeteries, a stretch of the Stanegate Roman road and a stretch of the Roman road which connects the fort at Great Chesters with the Stanegate. The camps, the eastern section of the Stanegate and part of the cemetery to the south survive as upstanding earthworks and associated buried features. The western end of the Stanegate, the cemetery to the north, parts of the cemetery to the south and the camp ditches survive as buried features. There are two camps at Markham Cottage: the larger and earlier Camp 1 contains the smaller Camp 2 within its north margin. The vallum lies 110m to the north and the fort at Great Chesters is 520m to the NNW. Camp 1 is situated astride a low east to west ridge between the gorge of the Haltwhistle Burn to the south and a shallow valley to the north. This rectangular camp is the largest in the vicinity, measuring 460m from north to south by 365m east to west and enclosing an area of 16.8ha. The defences include an earthen rampart and external ditch. They are best preserved towards the north end of the east side where the bank stands 0.3m high internally and the ditch is 0.3m deep. The only gateway that can now be identified is at the centre of the south side where a slight causeway is visible across the heavily silted ditch. The north west corner of the camp was later occupied by Wall Mill. The ancillary structures of this watermill including two leats, the mill pond, the footings of a building and an adjacent walled enclosure, probably the miller's house and garden, are still visible. Camp 2 is better preserved than Camp 1, occupying a gentle north-facing slope; its south side lying on a false crest. Its north defences appear to have been built by reconstructing or reusing those of the larger Camp 1. At its north east corner the ditch of Camp 2 cuts through the rampart of Camp 1 and therefore the smaller camp is undoubtedly later in date. This camp measures 130m north to south by 106m east to west, enclosing an area of 1.4ha within a rampart up to 0.3m high internally and an external ditch now 0.3m deep. There is a gateway on the mid-point of the north side 7m wide, and an opposing gateway on the south side 8m wide. There are the remains of an external defence bank outside the south gateway surviving to a height of 0.3m with a ditch 0.2m deep. Fragmentary ridge and furrow within the camp has impinged upon parts of the south and east ramparts. The north defences are cut by recent drains and partly overlain by a field wall. The remains of two Roman cemeteries are located on the west margin of the larger camp. To the north is the area occupied by the Wall Mill cemetery. Burial mounds no longer survive as upstanding earthworks but the cemetery is known to occupy the area from the old water mill west along the north scarp of the tributary and probably along the line of the Roman road to the fort at Great Chesters. An incomplete female statue and inscribed statue base were found in 1801 when the miller was clearing out one of the leats. Two tombstones and an urn were also known to have been found on the site and Hodgson records that dressed masonry and many foundations were discovered along the low ridge to the north of the tributary. The Four Laws cemetery is situated west of Camp 1, along a stretch of plateau lying along the north side of the Stanegate. This vast cemetery includes the remains of at least 15 upstanding burial mounds. However, many more are known from early Ordnance Survey maps and aerial photographs from the 1930s. The extant mounds vary in their dimensions from 0.1m to 0.6m in height and from 3m to 7.6m in diameter. In addition these low central banks are surrounded by a shallow circular ditch and outer bank which gives them the form characteristic of Roman barrows found elsewhere in the northern frontier area. The Stanegate Roman road, the main east-west road, from the Haltwhistle Burn in the east crosses the south part of Camp 1 and is visible as a series of earthworks along the eastern half of this section. The remains of the Stanegate have been severely eroded in the western half of the camp, and though its course is known as it leaves the camp to the west, there are no upstanding remains. The barrows of the Four Laws cemetery lie to the north of the Stanegate both inside and outside the camp at the western end of this section of the Stanegate. The course of another Roman road which joined the fort at Great Chesters with the Stanegate, is overlain by the present track from Great Chesters Farm to Markham Cottage which encroaches on the west side of the camp. The Wall Mill cemetery is clearly associated with this approach road to the fort at Great Chesters. The field boundaries and the surface of the modern roads are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included. Markham Cottage and Lees Hall Gate and their associated gardens are totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Hodgson, J, The Victoria History of the County of Northumberland, (1840)

National Grid Reference: NY 70752 66054


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End of official listing