Hadrian's Wall between Fulwood House at Burgh by Sands and Burgh Marsh in wall miles 72 and 73
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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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
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
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
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
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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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