Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Brownrigg North tower 21b, 830m north west of Canonby Hall, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

A Scheduled Monument in Crosscanonby, Cumbria

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 54.7389 / 54°44'20"N

Longitude: -3.4602 / 3°27'36"W

OS Eastings: 306082.961

OS Northings: 539194.969

OS Grid: NY060391

Mapcode National: GBR 4F8N.N0

Mapcode Global: WH5YB.T4GX

Entry Name: Brownrigg North tower 21b, 830m north west of Canonby Hall, part of the Roman frontier defences along the Cumbrian coast

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1965

Last Amended: 14 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014811

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27717

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Crosscanonby

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Cross Canonby St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Details

The monument includes the buried remains of Brownrigg North tower. Within the
sequence of Roman towers along the Cumbrian coast this one has been identified
as 21b. The tower was originally of sandstone construction and is located on
the seaward-facing slope on the north west side of a low hill known as
Brownrigg. Limited excavation by Bellhouse in 1962 found the east wall of the
tower to survive up to two courses high and the north and south walls to
survive up to one course high. The walls stand on a foundation of clay and
cobbles 1.3m wide and 0.4m deep and on the tower's west side plough damage had
removed the wall to leave only the foundations surviving. The tower is almost
square and measures c.6.4m north-south by c.6.2m east-west.

MAP EXTRACT
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 the
buried remains of Brownrigg North tower 21b survive reasonably well. The
monument will contribute to further study of the Roman frontier defences
along the Cumbrian coast.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Bellhouse, R L, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Roman Sites On The Cumberland Coast 1962-3, , Vol. LXVI, (1966), 37-8

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.