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Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the track to Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 in wall miles 22 and 23

A Scheduled Monument in Corbridge, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0158 / 55°0'56"N

Longitude: -2.0473 / 2°2'50"W

OS Eastings: 397069.883383

OS Northings: 569025.469005

OS Grid: NY970690

Mapcode National: GBR GB4F.KS

Mapcode Global: WHB26.J695

Entry Name: Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the track to Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 in wall miles 22 and 23

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1928

Last Amended: 14 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010626

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26048

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Corbridge

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: St Oswald-in-Lee with Bingfield

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall, vallum and associated
features between the track to Portgate Cottage in the east and the field
boundary to the east of milecastle 24 in the west. This section follows a
straight alignment throughout its length and links the crests of the high
ground along this length.
Hadrian's Wall runs beneath the B6318 road for the entire length of this
section. The wall ditch and upcast mound to the north survive well as
upstanding earthworks for most of the length of this section. The ditch
averages 2m deep throughout, though it reaches a maximum of 2.8m in places.
The upcast mound from the ditch, usually known as the `glacis', survives up to
a maximum of 1m in height to the north of the ditch.
Milecastle 23 is situated about 50m east of the Stanley Plantation on the
south side of the B6318 road on an east facing slope. It survives as a turf
covered platform about 1m high with traces of a ditch around it. It was partly
excavated in 1930 and it was shown to have an internal width of 15m and walls
2.9m thick.
Turret 22b is located about 10m west of the track to Portgate House and
Cottage off the B6318 road. It survives as a buried feature beneath the B6318
road. It was partly excavated during 1930.
Turret 23a is expected to be located about 260m east of the west edge of the
Stanley Plantation on the basis of the normal spacing.
Turret 23b is expected to be located about 100m east of the road to Oakwood on
the basis of the normal spacing.
The Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between
the Wall and the vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts, occupies the
north mound of the vallum throughout the whole length of this section. It
survives well and is visible as an upstanding earthwork.
The vallum runs parallel to the Wall throughout this section. It survives very
well for most of this section and is clearly visible as an upstanding
earthwork. The north and south mounds reach a height of 1.8m, while the vallum
ditch reaches a depth of 3m in places. There was limited excavation of the
vallum during 1952 near milecastle 23 when it was shown that the north mound
was broken by a gap giving access to the milecastle. A causeway across the
vallum ditch would also have been required at this point. The ditch, however,
appeared to have been recut, indicating that the access route to the
milecastle changed through the main period of use of the Wall.
All road surfaces and field boundaries 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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 vallum and their associated features between the track to
Portgate Cottage and the field boundary east of milecastle 24 survive well as
a series of buried and upstanding remains. Significant information on the
development of the frontier system over time will be preserved.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Bruce, J C, Handbook to the Roman wall, (1863), 103
Bruce, J C, Handbook to the Roman wall, (1863), 102

Source: Historic England

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