Hadrian's Wall, vallum, section of the Stanegate Roman road and a Roman temporary camp between the B6318 road and Poltross Burn in wall miles 46 and 47
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1010993
Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928
Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 64601 65984
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.
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. Hadrian's Wall and vallum, the Roman temporary camp, and their associated features between the B6318 road and Poltross Burn survive 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 vallum and their
associated features between the B6318 road in the east and the Poltross Burn
in the west.
All the upstanding remains of Hadrian' Wall and the milecastle in this
scheduling are Listed Grade I.
Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section except for
a short section of Wall less than 10m long which was excavated in 1957 ahead
of road widening. The Wall here is consolidated and of broad wall foundation,
3.3m wide and up to 0.5m high. Between this section and milecastle 47 the Wall
can be traced as a turf covered scarp measuring 3.5m wide and 0.4m high. A
modern wall partly overlies this scarp. West of turret 47b the remains of the
Wall are again visible as a turf covered scarp, 0.4m high, with a field wall
occupying the centre line of the Wall. In the woodland above the east bank of
Poltross Burn the Wall survives as a bank of tumbled stone which has a maximum
height of 0.5m. Elsewhere the Wall survives as a buried feature with no
remains visible above ground, being overlain by a field wall for most of its
course. At Chapel House, farm buildings overlie the course of the Wall. As
archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here this area is
not included in the scheduling. The wall ditch survives intermittently as a
feature visible on the ground. Where extant it averages 2m deep, but elsewhere
it is silted to varying degrees and in some sections there are no surface
traces. The upcast mound from the ditch, usually referred to as the glacis,
survives as a ploughed down feature to the north of the ditch in parts of this
Milecastle 47 is situated about 250m east of Chapel House. It survives as a
slight turf covered ploughed down platform. Dressed stones from the gate lie
to the north on a modern causeway across the wall ditch. Excavations in 1935
uncovered large barrack blocks either side of the central space within the
milecastle. An oven was found in the north west corner. This milecastle
measures internally 21.2m north to south by 18.5m across.
The exact location of turret 46b has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of
the usual spacing its remains would be expected to lie under one of the
outbuildings of Wall End farm. No upstanding remains are visible above ground.
As archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here, Wall End
farm is totally excluded from the scheduling.
The exact location of turret 47a has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of
the usual spacing it is expected to lie about 220m west of Chapel House.
The exact location of turret 47b has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of
the usual spacing it is expected to be located beneath the house and garden of
`Meadow View'. No upstanding remains are visible above ground. As
archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here, The Gap,
including `Meadow View', is not included in the scheduling.
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, is not known with certainty throughout the whole of this section. The
only visible remains survive as a terrace in a north facing slope to the south
and west of Wall End farm. Elsewhere it survives as a buried feature beneath
the turf cover with few traces visible above ground.
The vallum survives as an intermittent earthwork visible on the ground in
parts of this section. Elsewhere it has been ploughed down and its remains
survive as buried features masked by the turf cover. In the area of Greenhead
Golf Course the extant ditch survives up to 1.8m deep and the north and south
mounds up to 0.8m high. Either side of the Poltross Burn the vallum ditch is
visible on the rim of the gorge where it measures 0.6m deep.
The east-west Roman road known as the Stanegate, which was a pre-Hadrianic
construction dating to the early 80s AD, survives intermittently in this
section as a feature visible on the ground. Where visible it survives as a
linear turf covered mound, 0.4m high. Elsewhere its remains survive as buried
A Roman temporary camp, known as Glenwhelt Leazes, is situated on Greenhead
Golf Course. It is situated on the east end of a spur overlooking the gap in
the Whin Sill escarpment cut by the Tipalt Burn. It survives as a series of
earthworks visible on the ground. The defences are best preserved to the east
of the north gateway where the rampart is up to 4m wide and 0.7m high and the
outer ditch is 3m wide and 0.5m deep. This north facing rectangular camp
measures 150m north to south by 80m across and encloses an area of 1.2ha. The
four gateways are particularly significant in that each has both an internal
and external defence bank and ditch visible on the ground. The interior has
been ploughed and drained creating a levelled area.
Wall End farm is totally excluded from the scheduling.
All field boundaries, except those built directly on the line of Hadrian's
Wall, all road and track surfaces and buildings are excluded from the
scheduling, but the ground beneath all these features 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: 26071
Legacy System: RSM
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