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Dubmill Point milefortlet 17, 560m WNW of Hill House, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

A Scheduled Monument in Holme St Cuthbert, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7971 / 54°47'49"N

Longitude: -3.4369 / 3°26'12"W

OS Eastings: 307719.545242

OS Northings: 545638.514102

OS Grid: NY077456

Mapcode National: GBR 4DFZ.Q5

Mapcode Global: WH6Z3.5PNB

Entry Name: Dubmill Point milefortlet 17, 560m WNW of Hill House, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

Scheduled Date: 1 June 1979

Last Amended: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014803

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27722

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Holme St Cuthbert

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Holme Cultram St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the buried remains of all but the western edge of
Dubmill Point Roman milefortlet. Within the sequence of milefortlets along the
Cumbrian coast this one has been identified as number 17. The milefortlet was
originally of turf and timber construction and is located on the western of
two low parallel ridges of raised beach. It was found by aerial photography
during the drought of 1976 which showed the outline of the broad ditch of a
milefortlet, the western side of which was truncated by the B5300 and coastal
erosion, and faint traces of a possible second narrower ditch further to the
east. All that is visible on the ground is a slight ploughed-down depression
which defines the broad ditch visible on the aerial photographs on the east
and south sides of the milefortlet. Limited excavation by Bellhouse in 1983
found part of the milefortlet's main east-west axis road and evidence for
three separate phases of rampart construction. The position of the
milefortlet's broad ditch on the eastern side was confirmed by the excavation
and found to lie approximately 9m to the east of the remains of the rampart.
Roman pottery and iron nails were also found during the excavation. In 1994
geophysical survey produced a clear picture of the buried remains of the
milefortlet; high resistance readings marked the position of the turf rampart,
remains of internal buildings and the east-west road. The broad ditch was
identified by a series of low resistance readings and an entrance on the
western side was located. Approximately 20m to the east of this broad ditch
the survey found a second arc of low resistance thought to be indicative of
another ditch, together with a narrow band of higher resistance thought to
represent a bank running south from this latter ditch. Exact measurements of
the milefortlet are impossible to obtain because of the loss of the western
edge of the monument but the geophysical survey indicates that the fortlet
including its broad ditch measures c.47m NNE-SSW.
All post and wire fences 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 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.

A combination of aerial photographs, geophysical survey and limited excavation
have shown that buried remains of Dubmill Point milefortlet 17 survive well.
The monument will contribute to any further study of the Roman frontier
defences along the Cumbrian coast.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, , Roman Defences of the Cumbrian Coast, (1994)
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Roman Sites On The Cumb coast: Milefortlet 17, Dubmill Point, , Vol. LXXXVI, (1986), 40-7
Jones, G D B, 'Britannia' in The Solway Frontier: Interim Report, , Vol. 13, (1982), 283-97
MUCS 100,3. In Cumbria SMR 622, Jones,G.D.B., Dubmill Point Milefortlet 17, (1976)
MUCS 100,3. In Cumbria SMR 622, Jones,G.D.B., Dubmill Point Milefortlet 17, (1976)
MUCS 100,3. In Cumbria SMR 622, Jones,G.D.B., Dubmill Point Milefortlet 17, (1976)
RCHME, Cumberland Coast Events Record, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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