Hadrian's Wall and vallum from A6071 to The Cottage in the case of the Wall, and to the road to Oldwall, for the vallum, in wall miles 57, 58 and 59


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Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall and vallum from A6071 to The Cottage in the case of the Wall, and to the road to Oldwall, for the vallum, in wall miles 57, 58 and 59
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 49074 61908

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 from the A6071 road in the east to The Cottage at Oldwall in the case of the Wall and to the road to Oldwall and Laversdale for the vallum in the west, survive as a series of buried and occasionally visible remains. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time will be preserved. In addition, geophysical survey has shown that in this section the Turf Wall and Stone Wall may have had a different alignment, meaning that the remains of the two phases of frontier defences can be compared.


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and vallum and their associated features between the A6071 road in the east to The Cottage at Oldwall in the case of the Wall and to the road to Laversdale at Oldwall in the case of the vallum, the road to Laversdale at Oldwall in the west. Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section with no upstanding remains. Occasional rises in hedge lines and field walls are the only traces left on the surface. Excavations by Haverfield in 1902 located the course of the Wall to the south west of Newtown where it runs parallel to a modern field boundary. A geophysical survey in 1981 indicated that masonry still survives in situ on the line of the Wall to the immediate south west of Newtown. It also suggested that there may be traces of the earlier Turf Wall on a slightly different alignment to the Stone Wall. A centurial stone was discovered in this section of the Wall to the south of Cumrenton. Another centurial stone is known to be incorporated into the wall of Cumrenton farmhouse (not included in the scheduling). Between Chapel Field and Oldwall the course of the Wall is overlain by a hedge on top of an earth and stone bank, almost 2.5m wide. The wall ditch survives as an intermittent earthwork visible on the ground throughout this section. In the north east half of this section the ditch survives as a slight depression traceable on the surface. Further to the south west the ditch survives in better condition, averaging 1.6m-1.8m deep. A modern drain runs along the base of the ditch here and a hedge runs along the north edge. The ditch upcast mound, usually referred to as the glacis, does not survive as a feature visible above ground in this section. Milecastle 58 is situated about 180m south west of Newtown on the north side of a hedge which has traces of a platform below it and contains a large quantity of masonry. The milecastle's remains survive as buried features below the turf cover. Milecastle 59 is situated about 450m east of Oldwall on almost level ground. It survives as a buried feature with no remains visible above ground. Excavations in 1894 by Haverfield yielded stone foundations and a pottery assemblage. A geophysical survey in 1981 indicated that remains of the south wall still survive in situ, but that this milecastle is slightly to the east of the position depicted by the Ordnance Survey. The exact position of turret 58a has not yet been confirmed as there are no upstanding features visible above ground. However, on the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be located about 300m east of Cumrenton. The exact position of turret 58b has not been confirmed in recent times. It was apparently located in 1894 by the Society of Antiquities of Newcastle but its precise location was not recorded. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be situated in the field immediately north east of Chapel Field. The exact position of turret 59a has not yet been confirmed as there are no upstanding features visible above ground. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be located immediately east of Oldwall. The exact 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, has not been confirmed in this section. It probably lies parallel to the Wall line, but 20m-30m to the south. Where the Wall line changes course near Chapel Field the Wall and vallum run close together and it is likely that the Military Way occupies the north mound of the vallum. The vallum survives as a buried feature for most of its course in this section with few remains visible on the ground. The ditch is visible as a depression enhanced by a modern drain to the north east of Chapel Field. Around Chapel Field the ditch is visible as a slight depression, averaging 0.5m deep. Elsewhere its remains survive as buried features below the turf cover, with the only visible traces being slight depressions and rises in the hedgelines which cross its course. Excavations in 1902 by Haverfield located the course of the vallum west of Newtown and a section across the vallum ditch was recorded during widening of the road 500m east of Cumrenton farmhouse around 1970. All field boundaries, overhead power supply poles, and road and track surfaces 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.


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

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Books and journals
Haverfield, F, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee 1902, , Vol. 3, (1903), 344-345
Various, , 'Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Newcastle Upon Tyne' in The 3rd Pilgrimage of the Roman Wall, , Vol. 2 ser, 7, (1894), 221


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

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