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Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the road to Simonburn and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park in wall miles 29, 30 and 31

A Scheduled Monument in Simonburn, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0372 / 55°2'13"N

Longitude: -2.2005 / 2°12'1"W

OS Eastings: 387283.395731

OS Northings: 571427.957879

OS Grid: NY872714

Mapcode National: GBR FB26.D3

Mapcode Global: WHB1Y.5ND8

Entry Name: Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the road to Simonburn and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park in wall miles 29, 30 and 31

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1928

Last Amended: 14 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010961

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26053

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Simonburn

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Warden

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and associated features
between the minor road to Simonburn in the east and the field boundary to the
east of Carrawburgh car park in the west. This section of the Wall follows an
alignment straight from the North Tyne to the high point at Limestone
Corner where it changes to a more westerly direction and occupies the gentle
west facing slope all the way to Carrawburgh. There are good views to the
north and south all along this section, and in particular from Limestone
All the upstanding remains of Hadrian's Wall, the milecastles and turrets in
this scheduling are Listed Grade I.
The Wall survives as a buried feature for most of this section, except for the
two well preserved sections west of the minor road to Simonburn. The two
upstanding sections of Wall are consolidated and in the care of the Secretary
of State. The east section is about 122m long and reaches a maximum
height of 1.8m. The west section is about 48m in length and slightly lower.
Elsewhere the Wall is visible as a low stony bank with a maximum height of
1m, or as a trench with spoil heaps either side of it. These trenches are the
result of excavation in 1951 to either side of milecastle 30, when it was
shown that the Wall in this section was narrow wall on a broad wall
foundation. Beyond Limestone Corner the line of the Wall is overlain by the
B6318 road and there are no upstanding remains visible. The outer ditch
survives well throughout this section and averages over 2m deep. The ditch is
most impressive at Limestone Corner where it has been cut through the bedrock
to a maximum depth of 2.8m. To the east of Limestone Corner the rock-cut ditch
was left unfinished. The upcast mound from the ditch, known as the glacis,
survives intermittently throughout this section. It is best preserved west of
Limestone Corner where it attains a height of 2.7m.
Milecastle 30 is situated on the high ground of Limestone Corner with
commanding views in all directions. It survives as a turf covered platform up
to 0.8m high. Excavation by Simpson during 1927 showed that it measured 20.2m
from north to south. Part of the east wall is upstanding, measuring 3.1m long
and 0.6m high. The Military Way survives as a turf covered causeway leading up
to the south gateway of the milecastle.
Milecastle 31 is situated immediately to the east of Carrawburgh car park with
wide views to the north and south, but with a restricted outlook to the east
and west. It survives as a low turf covered platform 0.25m high. The remains
of north wall of the milecastle lies beneath the B6318 road. Traces of the
road connecting the milecastle to the Military Way survive as a causeway 0.15m
Turret 29b survives as a turf covered mound with parts of the north, west and
east walls surviving up to two courses. The road connecting the turret to the
Military Way is discernible as a slight linear mound. It was excavated during
1912 by Newbold who found the doorway in the east end of the south side and a
ladder platform in the south west corner. Heavily burnt masonry and rubbish
indicated that the turret had been destroyed by fire and was then left in
Turret 30a is situated about 400m east of Carrawbrough Farm below the B6318
road. It was located during 1912, though there are no surface remains visible
Turret 30b is located about 50m west of the drive to Carrawbrough Farm partly
below the B6318 road. The south side of the turret is visible in the field to
the south of the road as a turf covered scarp, 0.5m high.
The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the
corridor between the Wall and the vallum linking turrets, milecastles and
forts, is not known with certainty for most of this section. However,
according to the observations of Horsley made in the 1730s and trial
excavations by Newbold in the early 1900s, it is generally considered that
the Military Way overlay the north mound of the vallum for most of this
section. Further excavations in 1911 confirmed this interpretation. For this
reason it is believed that the B6318 road overlies it between Chesters and
Limestone Corner. At Limestone Corner the Military Way is visible as a low
causeway, 0.6m high, leading to the south gateway of milecastle 30. Beyond the
milecastle it rejoins the north mound of the well preserved vallum.
Excavations during 1911 confirmed this to be the case.
The vallum is very well preserved throughout this section. It survives as a
series of upstanding earthworks and an impressive rock cut ditch around
Limestone Corner. The north mound averages 1.2m for most of its length where
it is not overlain by the B6318. The south mound averages about 1m in height
with crossings identifiable about every 42m. The ditch is mainly rock cut in
the east half of this section with sheer sides and depths of up to 3.5m. In
the west half of this section the ditch also survives well and averages 1.9m
in depth.
All road surfaces, road signs and field and property boundaries within the
area of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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
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 works between the minor road to Simonburn
and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park survive well as upstanding
and buried features for most of this section. There are two particularly well
preserved sections of consolidated Wall and the impressive rock cut wall ditch
and vallum ditch at Limestone Corner. Elsewhere the remains survive as
earthworks and buried features. Significant information on the development of
the frontier system over time, will be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Birley, E, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hadrian's Wall: some structural problems, , Vol. 4 ser,38, (1960), 52
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations of the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, (1913), 63-66
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations of the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, (1913)
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations on the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, , Vol. 3 ser,9, (1912), 56

Source: Historic England

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