Hadrian's Wall between the track to Cockmount Hill and Walltown Quarry East in wall miles 43, 44 and 45


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017535

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall between the track to Cockmount Hill and Walltown Quarry East in wall miles 43, 44 and 45
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 21:57:23.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Greenhead


National Grid Reference: NY 68717 66924


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 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 the track to Cockmount Hill and Walltown Quarry East survive well 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 its associated features between the track to Cockmount Hill in the east and Walltown Quarry East in the west. All upstanding remains of Hadrian's Wall, the milecastles and turrets in this scheduling are Listed Grade I. Hadrian's Wall survives mostly as a low stony rubble and turf covered mound throughout this section averaging 5m wide and 1m high, except for a few stretches of exposed upstanding masonry. At Cockmount Hill buildings overlie the line of the Wall. Between Cockmount Hill and milecastle 44 a modern field wall overlies the north face of the Wall where Hadrian's Wall survives up to a maximum height of 1.7m. Here the south face is hidden below wall debris and is up to 1.3m high. West of Cockmount Hill a 50m stretch of unconsolidated Wall is exposed, up to 1.1m in height. West of milecastle 44 there are two sections of exposed Wall, 2.25m wide and standing 0.8m high. A short section of unconsolidated exposed Wall in a state of collapse is situated to the west of milecastle 45. The Wall ditch seems to have been only partly completed west of Cockmount Hill before its full construction was abandoned. It is best preserved west of turret 43b where it has a depth of 2.2m with traces of the upcast mound, usually referred to as the glacis, on its north side. Along Walltown Crags the building of a ditch was unnecessary, except in the `nicks' or gaps which break up the crags. The section north of `King Arthur's Well' survives up to 2m deep with the glacis 0.7m high to the north. Two shallower sections of ditch are visible in the two nicks to the east. Milecastle 44 is situated near the crest of an east facing slope with wide views to the north and south. Its walls survive as turf covered banks, 3.5m wide and 0.9m high. A few facing stones are visible in the banks. The milecastle measures 20.3m north to south by 17m across. Excavation around the inner face of the milecastle walls is evidenced by the remains of robber trenches but it is not known when or by whom this was done. The road which connected the milecastle to the Military Way survives as a causeway 3.5m wide and 0.2m high. Milecastle 45 is situated on the crest of Walltown Crags with commanding views to the north and south. This milecastle survives as a turf covered feature. The walls are indicated by the remains of robber trenches flanked by spoil heaps. Large dressed stones from the gateway have been built into the low wall to the rear of the cattle trough east of Walltown farm. Turret 43b is thought to be situated on an east facing slope to the west of Cockmount Hill. Its exact location is yet to be confirmed. Turret 44a is situated on the east end of a crag overlooking a nick to the east about 500m west of milecastle 44. It survives as a square turf-covered mound, 0.3m high. It was first located in 1912 by Birley. Turret 44b is situated at the east end of a crag overlooking the nick in which `King Arthur's Well' is located. It survives as an exposed stone feature. The inner face of the turret stands to a maximum height of 1.9m. Excavations at the turret were carried out in 1892 by Gibson who found a coin from the reign of Valens. The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between the Wall and the vallum linking the turrets, milecastles and forts, is known throughout the length of this section. It survives as a low turf covered causeway 5.5m wide and up to 0.5m high, or as a terrace in the hillside with a minimum width of 3m. It is straight for most of its course except where it deviates around rock outcrops. West of the Cockmount Hill Plantation the foundations of two large regularly laid out rectangular buildings overlie the Military Way, using it as a hard standing. Their form suggests they are post-medieval or later in date. South east of King Arthur's Well a spur road branched off the Military Way, the remains of which can be seen as a turf covered causeway leading south east towards Lowtown. An uninscribed Roman milestone is located along the line of the Wall west of Cockmount Hill. It forms the west post of the field gate at the west end of Cockmount Hill Wood. There is a series of five cultivation terraces on the slope to the south of Cockmount Hill Wood. They survive as turf covered earthworks. These cultivation remains run parallel with the contours on a south facing slope like the cultivation terraces at Housesteads which have been confirmed to be Roman. Later narrow ridge and furrow, on average 2.5m apart, overlies some of these earlier terraces. Cockmount Hill farmhouse and buildings are excluded from the scheduling. All field boundaries, except those constructed directly on the line of Hadrian's Wall, road surfaces, stiles and buildings are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath 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: 26066

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gibson, J P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Mucklebank Wall Turret (T44B), , Vol. 2 ser,24, (1903), 13-18

End of official listing