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Silloth Golf Course tower 12a, 670m WNW of Blitterlees Farm, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

A Scheduled Monument in Silloth-on-Solway, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8558 / 54°51'21"N

Longitude: -3.3993 / 3°23'57"W

OS Eastings: 310262.762

OS Northings: 552123.749

OS Grid: NY102521

Mapcode National: GBR 4DP9.V3

Mapcode Global: WH6YX.R6GS

Entry Name: Silloth Golf Course tower 12a, 670m WNW of Blitterlees Farm, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

Scheduled Date: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014800

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27719

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Silloth-on-Solway

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Silloth Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the buried remains of the northern of two Roman towers
located on Silloth Golf Course. Within the sequence of Roman towers along the
Cumbrian coast this one has been identified as 12a. The tower was originally
of sandstone construction and is located on a relatively isolated low sand
dune to the east of the 14th green. The only visible remains consist of an
irregularly-shaped hollow on the summit of the dune which represents the site
of a limited excavation undertaken during the 1960s by Bellhouse. This
excavation found two building phases of the tower; the first was represented
by clay and cobble foundations of a tower measuring c.1m wide and 0.9m deep
and approximately 6m square externally. A spread of cobbles outside the south
west corner of the structure indicated that it had collapsed down the slope of
the dune. The tower had then been rebuilt with slightly smaller dimensions and
in its later phase measured c.5.8m east-west by 4.4m north-south. Roman
pottery found during the excavation indicated that the tower was occupied
during the Hadrianic period (AD 117-138). The Ordnance Survey incorrectly
locates the tower slightly south west of its actual position.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 10 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 in the second half of the first century AD when a
military road, the Stanegate, was constructed along with a series of forts.
There is evidence that the Tyne-Solway route was being recognised as a
frontier by the start of the second century AD, but the line was consolidated
in the early second century AD by the construction of a substantial frontier
work, Hadrian's Wall, in c.120 AD. Subsequent attempts to establish the
boundary further north, between Clyde and Forth, failed by c.160 AD. Hadrian's
Wall then remained the frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain until c.400 AD
when Roman armies withdrew from Britain.
For most of its course, the 70 miles of Hadrian's Wall running from coast to
coast comprised a continuous stone wall (which in places was first temporarily
built of turf) with permanent structures sited at intervals of one Roman mile
(milecastles) and at third of a mile intervals (turrets) between the
milecastles. At a later date, the Wall was strengthened by 16 full-size
garrison forts built either on, or close to, the Wall. To the north of the
Wall, for most of its length, lay a substantial defensive ditch and to the
south a complex of banks and ditches provided east-west communication and
demarcated the frontier zone from the province.
To the west of Bowness-on-Solway, where the Wall reached the sea, however, the
frontier had a different character and served a slightly different purpose. At
the western end of the Wall a system of milefortlets and towers, spaced
similarly to the milecastles and turrets along the Wall, extended the frontier
system for at least 27 miles down the Cumbrian coast and helped control
movement across the estuary of the Solway Firth. In places these milefortlets
and towers were supplemented by lengths of palisade fences.
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.
The frontier works along the Cumbrian coast survive as earthworks or buried
archaeological remains, the latter sometimes visible on aerial photographs.
They survive in this form largely as a result of the more ephemeral materials
of which they were built (timber and turf instead of the stone of Hadrian's
Wall land frontier) rather than because of poor survival of archaeological
remains. Components of the coastal frontier which have surviving
archaeological remains, whether visible or not, will generally be considered
of national importance.

Despite the lack of surface remains, limited excavation has shown that buried
remains of Silloth Golf Course tower 12a survive reasonably well. The monument
will contribute to further study of the Roman frontier defences along the
Cumbrian coast.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Roman Sites On The Cumberland Coast 1966-67, , Vol. LXIX, (1969), 54-60
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000
Source Date: 1972

Source: Historic England

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