Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe and Scotland Road including the Roman fort at Stanwix in wall mile 65


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Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe and Scotland Road including the Roman fort at Stanwix in wall mile 65
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NY 40298 57034

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 field boundary west of Wall Knowe and Scotland Road survive well as buried remains and will contain significant information on the development of the frontier system over time. Stanwix Roman fort is of particular importance as the largest fort on Hadrian's Wall, being garrisoned by the only thousand-strong cavalry unit, the ala Petriana, in Roman Britain. Its commanding officer was the senior commander on the Wall and the layout of its interior which at present is little understood will reflect its unique importance and character. The survival of the parade ground is particularly unusual; this being the only one identified along the wall.


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and associated features including a significant area of the site of the Roman fort at Stanwix, and the vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe in the east and the east side of Scotland Road in the west. The Wall, vallum and the fort at Stanwix are situated on the crest of a ridge on the north side of the River Eden, with extensive views to the south across the city of Carlisle towards the northern Pennines, the Eden valley, and the Lake District fells, and also with views to the north for up to 5km. Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section with no indications of the Wall or the wall ditch visible on the ground. The Wall in this section was initially built in turf, and later converted into a stone wall, possibly in the second half of the second century AD. A length of the stone-built Wall was found in excavations by Simpson in 1932 within the playground of Stanwix Primary School. An evaluation by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in 1997, also within the school playground, found a turf feature 7m to the rear of the Stone Wall, possibly remains of the primary Turf Wall. Much of the course of the Wall adjacent to the fort is covered by housing and gardens, and these areas are not included in the scheduling as the extent of survival of the remains here has not been confirmed. The precise location of turret 65b has not yet been confirmed but on the grounds of the usual spacing it is likely to have been replaced by the fort at Stanwix when the latter was constructed. It would have been constructed at the same time as the Turf Wall and would have been identical in form to other Turf Wall turrets as a square tower the same width (6m) as the Turf Wall. It has not yet been confirmed whether turret 65b was replaced by the fort before or after the replacement of the Turf Wall by the Stone Wall. The Roman fort on the Wall at Stanwix is known from excavations which have established the extent of its defences. It is thought the fort faced east, with its long axis parallel to Hadrian's Wall. Its measurements until recently were considered to be 176m north-south by 213m east-west, arising from the evidence of the excavations by Simpson in 1932. The stone wall found was thought to have formed the north wall of the fort. Further excavations in 1940 by Simpson and Richmond on the other sides confirmed the position of the other three sides of the fort, including two parallel western ditches, the south west corner, a short length of the south wall and two fort ditches. Part of an interval tower belonging to the south defences was found in the grounds of Stanwix House, and the east wall and a fort ditch was found where Romanby Close now runs. A linear earthwork at the southern end of the churchyard appears to reflect the line of the southern defences. Excavations in 1984 by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in the former gardens of Nos 24-28, Scotland Road, now the car park of the Cumbria Park Hotel, discovered a previously unknown north fort wall and interval tower 18m north of the wall found by Simpson, which suggests that the fort was at some time enlarged northwards, giving an overall north-south dimension of 194m. This would have made it the largest fort on Hadrian's Wall extending over an area of 3.96ha. The garrison is known from epigraphic evidence to have been the ala Petriana, which was the only thousand-strong auxiliary cavalry unit in Britain. The Roman name of the fort was traditionally thought to be Petriana, but recent research has suggested that this name arose from a scribal error in Roman times which confused the fort's name and the occupying unit. Its true name was probably Uxelodunum, which means `high place' and suits the fort's topographically commanding position. Details of the internal layout are only partly known. The excavations in 1932 by Simpson revealed buildings parallel to the fort's north wall although their function is unknown, and the excavations in 1940 by Simpson and Richmond in the southern part of the school yard of Stanwix Primary School revealed part of a granary and a further unknown building. The walls of the granary are currently marked in red concrete in the school playground surface. An evaluation by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in 1997 confirmed several of the features identified by Simpson, and established that the buried remains survive well up to 1.5m in depth between 0.2m and 0.4m below the playground surface. All the remains of the fort survive only as buried features with no remains visible on the ground surface. A clay feature, interpreted as the parade ground attached to the fort, has been identified in excavations by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in 1991 and 1992 in the dip in the land east of the fort in the grounds of Cumbria College of Art. It consisted of a dump of clay up to 0.6m deep with a metalled surface which had been laid over a buried land surface containing traces of pre-Wall cultivation. This in turn had been cut by a Roman military ditch pre-dating the parade ground. The full extent of the parade ground has not yet been defined but it does not extend as far eastwards as the field boundary which marks the eastern limit of the monument and is confined by the line of Hadrian's Wall to the north and the fort to the west. The parade ground is not visible on the ground surface and survives wholly as a buried feature. The full extent of the civil settlement, known as a vicus, belonging to the fort at Stanwix has not yet been confirmed, but it is known from excavations to have extended both to the east and west of the fort. There are no remains visible above ground and it survives entirely as buried remains. A series of ditches associated with second century AD pottery is known from excavations by Smith in 1976 on the site of Vallum Close adjacent to Brampton Road. As the remains here were totally excavated, this area is not included in the scheduling, although the area immediately to the west, south of the vallum, is included. Observations of development on the site of the former Miles McInnes Hall by Caruana in 1986 also found traces of buildings and occupation belonging to the civil settlement on the west side of the fort, dated to the second half of the the second century AD. As the remains here were totally destroyed by development, this area is also not included in the scheduling. It is possible that the civil settlement may have extended further towards Carlisle although this has not yet been confirmed. It is unlikely that the area south of the fort below the steep river cliff was occupied because of the flood plain of the river. The cemetery belonging to the fort lay east of the fort and is known from the chance discovery of cremation urns in Croft Road in 1872 and again from the construction of houses in Croft Road in 1936. The full extent of the cemetery has not yet been confirmed and the area of these discoveries has not been included in the scheduling as the survival of remains in the built-up area has not been confirmed. There is a strong possibility that the western part of the cemetery may lie within the area of protection. Two tombstones originating from the cemetery at Stanwix have been recovered, one of Marcus Troianus Augustus and the other of a cavalryman, but both have been moved, one to Drawdykes Castle and the other to the Senhouse Museum, Maryport. The course of the road, known as the Military Way, that ran the length of Hadrian's Wall connecting forts, milecastles and turrets has not been confirmed in this section. However a metalled road up to to 10m wide was identified in the excavations by Smith in 1976, in the adjoining scheduling to the east. This road ran south of and close to the Wall and was in use in the medieval period but it may have followed the line of the Military Way, the line being spread with continued use. The deviation of Tarraby Lane from the line of the Wall west of Wall Knowe to run straight towards the probable position of the east gate of the fort would suggest that it follows the line of the Military Way. The line of the road on the west side of the fort has not yet been identified. Military Way is not visible on the ground and it survives as a buried feature. The course of the vallum is known at either end of the monument from excavations. The vallum was located by excavation 100m east of Dykes Terrace by Simpson in 1932, and again immediately west of Dykes Terrace in excavations by the English Heritage Central Excavation Unit under Smith in 1976. Excavation in Rickerby Park by Simpson in 1934 has confirmed the course of the vallum west of the fort, including the turn of the ditch towards Hadrian's Wall before it descends Stanwix Bank towards the river. The course of the vallum was unsuccessfully sought south of the fort in excavations by Simpson in 1933 and 1934, when a ditch that was found and initially thought to be the vallum ditch turned out to be the south ditch of the fort. The course of the vallum south of the fort has not yet been confirmed although it is possible that erosion of the steep cliff above the river flood plain may have resulted in loss of some of the vallum south of the fort. All buildings, including Homeacres Cottage and The Cottage, Homeacres, the gateway to Stanwix House, St Michael's Church, The Vicarage, the gates to The Old Vicarage and two 19th century monuments which are all Listed Grade II, all road and pavement surfaces, boundary walls and property divisions, fences and field boundaries, street furniture and signs are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. The area which includes Stanwix House Cottage and the houses and gardens on the south side of Kells Place, the area which includes the Crown and Thistle public house and Nos 49-51 Church Street and their associated gardens and the area which includes Nos 3-5 Church Lane and Muncaster House and its garden north of the house are totally excluded from the scheduling.

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.

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Books and journals
Collingwood, R J, Wright, R P, Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Volume 1 The Inscriptions on Stone, (1956), 621
Collingwood, R J, Wright, R P, Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Volume 1 The Inscriptions on Stone, (1956), 621
Caruana, I, 'The Eleventh Pilgrimage of Hadrian's Wall, 1989' in Stanwix, (1979), 31-2
Dacre, J A, 'TCWAAS' in An Excavation on the Roman Fort at Stanwix, Carlisle, , Vol. ser 2,85, (1985), 53-69
Esmonde-Cleary, A S, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain in 1993, , Vol. 25, (1994), 263
Hogg, R, 'TCWAAS' in The Historic Crossings of the River Eden at Stanwix, , Vol. 52, (1952), 154
Simpson, F G, Richmond, I A, 'Journal of Roman Studies' in Hadrian's Wall, , Vol. 31, (1941), 129-30
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1934, , Vol. 35, (1935), 257
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1933, , Vol. 34, (1934), 155-7
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Carlisle and Stanwix, (1933), 275-6
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Carlisle and Stanwix, (1933), 275-6
Smith, G H, 'Britannia' in Excavations near Hadrian's Wall at Tarraby Lane, 1976, (1978), 19-57
Smith, G H, 'Britannia' in Excavations near Hadrian's Wall at Tarraby Lane, 1976, (1978), 19-57
Zant, J , 'Carlisle Archaeological Unit Client Reports' in Stanwix Primary School, Report Of An Archaeological Evaluation, (1997)
Zant, J , 'Carlisle Archaeological Unit Client Reports' in Stanwix Primary School, Report Of An Archaeological Evaluation, (1997)


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.

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