Hadrian's Wall between Fulwood House at Burgh by Sands and Burgh Marsh in wall miles 72 and 73


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
Burgh By Sands
National Grid Reference:
NY 31656 59160

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 its associated features between Fulwood House at Burgh by Sands and Burgh Marsh survive as a series of buried remains. Significant information on the function of the remains and 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 Fulwood House at Burgh by Sands in the east and Burgh Marsh in the west. Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout the whole length of this section with no features visible above ground. Excavations by Austen at West End in 1986 and subsequent geophysical survey in 1991, north of Rindle House demonstrated that the wall ditch ran approximately 11m north of the wall, a wider distance than is usual. The excavation across the ditch found the expected V-shaped profile, 10m wide at the top and 2.5m deep in the centre. The Wall was initially built of turf in the whole of this sector. The 1986 excavations and further excavations in 1989 by Austen at the site of milecastle 72 found that in the eastern part of the monument, from a point 50m east of the lane crossing the Wall at West End, the turf wall was built on a raft of cobbles 6.1m wide, a previously unrecorded method of construction on Hadrian's Wall, whereas the rest of the Turf Wall in this section was found in the same excavations by Austen and at the site of turret 72b in 1948 by Simpson to have been constructed by the better known method of stacking turves directly on the soil. When the Turf Wall was rebuilt in stone at the east end of this monument, the turf superstructure was entirely removed down to the cobble base, which was used as a foundation for the Stone Wall, whereas elsewhere a small amount of the base material of the Turf Wall remained sealed below the Stone Wall. In the vicinity of turret 72a and at turret 72b, the Stone Wall was placed 1.2m from the front of the Turf Wall, presumably to align with the side doors of the turrets to give access onto the wall-top, whereas at milecastle 72 the north face of the Stone Wall coincided with the northern edge of the base of the Turf Wall. The course of the Wall between Fulwood House and West End is now known as a result of these excavations to run a little to the north of the line depicted by the Ordnance Survey, with a slight change in direction southwards indicated 150m west of Fulwood House. There is no evidence to suggest that Hadrian's Wall was carried across Burgh Marsh west of Dykefield. No remains have been identified here and hence this area is not included in the scheduling. Milecastle 72 was initially located in 1960 by Bartle and its position was confirmed during excavations by Austen in 1989, its north wall (and the line of Hadrian's Wall) being found 13m north of the line depicted by the Ordnance Survey. The east wall of the milecastle was found below the farm access track immediately to the west of Fulwood House. The milecastle was originally built with turf walls, like the adjoining lengths of Hadrian's Wall on a base of cobbles 6.2m wide. The internal buildings and gateways have not been examined but would have been timber structures. The entire milecastle was replaced in stone, probably in the second half of the second century at the same time as the replacement of the Turf Wall by a stone wall. The north, east and west stone walls of the milecastle were found in the 1989 excavations to survive as buried features and were constructed using a mixture of red and white sandstones. The walls were built 2.2m wide on flag footings, and the east and west walls were placed exactly in the centre of the former turf walls, whereas the north wall of the stone milecastle ran on the northern edge of the former turf north wall. The stone milecastle measured 24.3m across its overall width, with an internal width between the walls of 19m. The south side of the milecastle has not been identified, but its length was at least 13m. Milecastle 73 was located and partly excavated by Simpson and others in 1948. It measured 18.7m wide and 19.2m long internally. However, the locational information from the excavation is not precise and the exact position of the milecastle has not been confirmed since. Its remains survive as buried features. The exact location of turret 72a has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be located approximately 50m east of West End Cottage. Roman pottery has been found in this area which appears to confirm the location. The turret probably lies at the junction between the length of Turf Wall constructed on a cobble base and the length built with turves stacked directly on the subsoil. Its remains are expected to survive as buried features. Turret 72b was located by Simpson in 1948 in the north east corner of the field to the north of Rindle House. It was found to be from the original Turf Wall series and it projected 1.2m north of the line of the later Stone Wall. Its remains survive as buried features. The 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 yet been confirmed in this section. It is expected to be located parallel to the course of the Wall a short distance south of it. All field boundaries, buildings and road 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. 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.

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Books and journals
Frere, , 'Britannia' in Roman Britain in 1989, , Vol. 21, (1990), 318
Simpson, Hodgson, Richmond, , 'Trans Cumbl/d Westml/d Antiq and Arc Society' in Turrets And Milecastles Between Burgh By Sands And Bowness, (1952), 15-16
Simpson, Hodgson, Richmond, , 'Trans Cumbl/d Westml/d Antiq and Arc Society' in Turrets And Milecastles Between Burgh By Sands And Bowness, (1952)


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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