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
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1010988
Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928
Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 20:46:30.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 49074 61908
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
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.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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
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
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.
Legacy System number: 26084
Legacy System: RSM
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