Hadrian's Wall and vallum between field boundary east of milecastle 24 and field boundary west of the site of turret 25b in wall miles 24 to 25


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010958

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall and vallum between field boundary east of milecastle 24 and field boundary west of the site of turret 25b in wall miles 24 to 25
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Sandhoe

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wall

National Grid Reference: NY 94794 69391


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 works between the field boundary east of milecastle 24 and the field boundary west of the site of turret 25b survive well as a series of buried and upstanding remains. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time, will be preserved.


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


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and its associated features between the field boundary east of milecastle 24 and the field boundary west of the site of turret 25b east of Brunton Gate. Throughout most of this section there are wide views to the north and south with undulating ground to the east and west restricting the outlook. The Wall survives as a series of buried remains below the course of the B6318 road throughout most of this section. Where the B6318 road changes direction east of St Oswald's Hill Head Farm the line of the Wall runs below St Oswald's Hill Head Farm itself. Beyond the farm it survives as a turf covered mound 0.5m high, spread by ridge and furrow cultivation. The wall ditch survives well as an earthwork visible on the ground for most of this section. It averages about 2.5m deep throughout, though it reaches a maximum of 3.6m deep in places. The upcast mound from the ditch, known as the glacis, is visible intermittently, usually in places where it has survived ploughing. Where extant it is generally irregular, sometimes containing much stony material, and averaging about 1m in height. Milecastle 24 is situated just below the crest of a west facing slope with views to the north and south. It was partly excavated in 1930 by Hepple and was shown to be just over 15m across with walls 3m thick. It survives as a turf covered mound with the remains of the excavation trenches and spoil heap still visible. Milecastle 25 is also situated on a west facing slope with views to the north and south. It survives as a turf covered platform about 1m high. A slight hollow on the south side may indicate an outer ditch. This milecastle was also partly excavated during 1930 by Hepple. Turret 24a occupies a slight hollow which restricts views to the east and west. It survives as a buried feature below the B6318 road. It was located and partly excavated during 1930 by Hepple. Turret 24b is situated just below the crest of an east facing slope with wide views to the north and south. It survives as a buried feature below the surface of the B6318 road. As with turret 24a this turret was located and partly excavated by Hepple during 1930. Turret 25a is situated on a west facing slope in the short stretch of ground between the B6318 and St Oswald's Hill Head Farm. It was located by Hepple during 1930, however there are no upstanding remains. Turret 25b is situated on a west facing slope to the south west of St Oswald's Church. There are no upstanding remains but it will survive as a buried feature, below the line of the east-west field boundary to the west of St Oswald's Church. It too was located and part excavated during 1930 by Hepple. The turret was again partly excavated during 1959 and there was no pottery recovered later than the second century AD. The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between the Wall and the vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts, is known for most of this section. It uses the north mound of the vallum as its base, certainly up to milecastle 25, along which it could be seen by Horsley who recorded it in his 1732 publication. A recent survey by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England shows that the Military Way probably continued along the north mound of the vallum beyond milecastle 25 where Horsley could no longer trace it. The vallum survives as an upstanding earthwork for much of this section where it mirrors closely the line of the Wall. The north mound averages about 1m where extant with a maximum height of 1.6m in places. The south mound also averages about 1m, but has a maximum height of 4m in places. The ditch is generally between 1.5m and 2m in depth where extant. Elsewhere it survives as a buried feature that has silted up. The buildings and farmyard of St Oswald's Hill Head Farm on the north side of the B6318 are totally excluded from the scheduling. All other buildings, road surfaces, the 18th century Grade II Listed milestone, horse jumps, and field boundaries within the area of the monument 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.


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

Legacy System number: 26049

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bruce, J C, Handbook to the Roman wall, (1863), 103
Horsley, J, Britannia Romana, (1732)
Simpson, , Birley, , 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations on Hadrian's Wall between Heddon on the Wall and ..., , Vol. 4 ser,8, (1931), 317

End of official listing