Hadrian's Wall between Eden Vale house and the Cam Beck in wall mile 56
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jul-2019 at 21:18:43.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Carlisle (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 51570 64066
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
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 its associated features between Eden Vale house and the Cam Beck survive well as a series of buried remains. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time will be preserved.
The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and its associated
features between Eden Vale house at Walton in the east and the Cam Beck in the
Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature in the east half of this section
with few traces visible above ground. In the woodland on the east and west
sides of Sandysike the Wall is visible as an earth covered bank, 5.6m wide and
0.3m-0.5m high, with trees growing out of it. Richmond noted deep masonry
foundations of the Wall near the stream at Sandysike in 1933. Either side of
the Cam Beck there are no upstanding remains of the Wall. However, its course
is known because there is an account of the part destruction of the Wall
here in 1791 where it is stated to have been 2.5m thick. The wall ditch
survives as an intermittent earthwork visible on the ground throughout this
section. East of Sandysike Wood the ditch is silted up leaving no surface
traces. In the wood the ditch survives as a visible feature, averaging between
1.4m and 1.7m deep, with a drain occupying its base. West of the wood the
ditch is partly overlain by a hedgeline before fading as it approaches the Cam
Beck in boggy ground. The ditch upcast mound, usually referred to as the
glacis, which lies to the north of the ditch has been ploughed out throughout
most of this section.
The exact location of turret 56a has not been confirmed as there are no
upstanding remains visible above ground. However, on the basis of the usual
spacing it is expected to be located just to the east of Sandysike. Although
not included in the scheduling, there is a Roman altar built into an
outbuilding of Sandysike farm, 0.7m above ground level. It is made from red
sandstone and measures 0.34m by 0.14m.
Turret 56b is situated about 140m east of the Cam Beck on a river terrace. It
was located in 1933 by Simpson who ascribed it to the Turf Wall series. The
turret survives as a buried feature with no remains visible above ground.
The exact course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along
the corridor between the Wall and vallum linking turrets, milecastles and
forts, has not been confirmed in this section. It is expected to be located
parallel to the Wall, 20m-30m to the south of it. The track from Sandysike
farm to Walton, which lies parallel to the Wall, may overlie the course of the
Military Way. The survival of archaeological remains below it has not yet been
confirmed and so it is not included in the scheduling.
All field boundaries and road and track surfaces within the area of the
monument are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- 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.
End of official listing