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Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe and Scotland Road including the Roman fort at Stanwix in wall mile 65

A Scheduled Monument in Stanwix Urban, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.9054 / 54°54'19"N

Longitude: -2.9328 / 2°55'58"W

OS Eastings: 340286.564665

OS Northings: 557144.725927

OS Grid: NY402571

Mapcode National: GBR 7CYQ.VB

Mapcode Global: WH7ZW.XYLS

Entry Name: Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe and Scotland Road including the Roman fort at Stanwix in wall mile 65

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1928

Last Amended: 20 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017948

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28484

County: Cumbria

Electoral Ward/Division: Stanwix Urban

Built-Up Area: Carlisle

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Carlisle Stanwix St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and associated features
including a significant area of the site of the Roman fort at Stanwix, and the
vallum between the field boundary west of Wall Knowe in the east and the east
side of Scotland Road in the west. The Wall, vallum and the fort at Stanwix
are situated on the crest of a ridge on the north side of the River Eden, with
extensive views to the south across the city of Carlisle towards the northern
Pennines, the Eden valley, and the Lake District fells, and also with views to
the north for up to 5km.
Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section with no
indications of the Wall or the wall ditch visible on the ground. The Wall in
this section was initially built in turf, and later converted into a stone
wall, possibly in the second half of the second century AD. A length of the
stone-built Wall was found in excavations by Simpson in 1932 within the
playground of Stanwix Primary School. An evaluation by Carlisle Archaeological
Unit in 1997, also within the school playground, found a turf feature 7m to
the rear of the Stone Wall, possibly remains of the primary Turf Wall. Much of
the course of the Wall adjacent to the fort is covered by housing and gardens,
and these areas are not included in the scheduling as the extent of survival
of the remains here has not been confirmed.
The precise location of turret 65b has not yet been confirmed but on the
grounds of the usual spacing it is likely to have been replaced by the fort at
Stanwix when the latter was constructed. It would have been constructed at the
same time as the Turf Wall and would have been identical in form to other Turf
Wall turrets as a square tower the same width (6m) as the Turf Wall. It has
not yet been confirmed whether turret 65b was replaced by the fort before or
after the replacement of the Turf Wall by the Stone Wall.
The Roman fort on the Wall at Stanwix is known from excavations which have
established the extent of its defences. It is thought the fort faced east,
with its long axis parallel to Hadrian's Wall. Its measurements until recently
were considered to be 176m north-south by 213m east-west, arising from the
evidence of the excavations by Simpson in 1932. The stone wall found was
thought to have formed the north wall of the fort. Further excavations in 1940
by Simpson and Richmond on the other sides confirmed the position of the other
three sides of the fort, including two parallel western ditches, the south
west corner, a short length of the south wall and two fort ditches. Part of an
interval tower belonging to the south defences was found in the grounds of
Stanwix House, and the east wall and a fort ditch was found where Romanby
Close now runs. A linear earthwork at the southern end of the churchyard
appears to reflect the line of the southern defences. Excavations in 1984 by
Carlisle Archaeological Unit in the former gardens of Nos 24-28, Scotland
Road, now the car park of the Cumbria Park Hotel, discovered a previously
unknown north fort wall and interval tower 18m north of the wall found by
Simpson, which suggests that the fort was at some time enlarged northwards,
giving an overall north-south dimension of 194m. This would have made it the
largest fort on Hadrian's Wall extending over an area of 3.96ha. The garrison
is known from epigraphic evidence to have been the ala Petriana, which was the
only thousand-strong auxiliary cavalry unit in Britain. The Roman name of the
fort was traditionally thought to be Petriana, but recent research has
suggested that this name arose from a scribal error in Roman times which
confused the fort's name and the occupying unit. Its true name was probably
Uxelodunum, which means `high place' and suits the fort's topographically
commanding position. Details of the internal layout are only partly known. The
excavations in 1932 by Simpson revealed buildings parallel to the fort's north
wall although their function is unknown, and the excavations in 1940 by
Simpson and Richmond in the southern part of the school yard of Stanwix
Primary School revealed part of a granary and a further unknown building. The
walls of the granary are currently marked in red concrete in the school
playground surface. An evaluation by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in 1997
confirmed several of the features identified by Simpson, and established that
the buried remains survive well up to 1.5m in depth between 0.2m and 0.4m
below the playground surface. All the remains of the fort survive only as
buried features with no remains visible on the ground surface.
A clay feature, interpreted as the parade ground attached to the fort, has
been identified in excavations by Carlisle Archaeological Unit in 1991 and
1992 in the dip in the land east of the fort in the grounds of Cumbria College
of Art. It consisted of a dump of clay up to 0.6m deep with a metalled surface
which had been laid over a buried land surface containing traces of pre-Wall
cultivation. This in turn had been cut by a Roman military ditch pre-dating
the parade ground. The full extent of the parade ground has not yet been
defined but it does not extend as far eastwards as the field boundary which
marks the eastern limit of the monument and is confined by the line of
Hadrian's Wall to the north and the fort to the west. The parade ground is not
visible on the ground surface and survives wholly as a buried feature.
The full extent of the civil settlement, known as a vicus, belonging to the
fort at Stanwix has not yet been confirmed, but it is known from excavations
to have extended both to the east and west of the fort. There are no remains
visible above ground and it survives entirely as buried remains. A series of
ditches associated with second century AD pottery is known from excavations by
Smith in 1976 on the site of Vallum Close adjacent to Brampton Road. As the
remains here were totally excavated, this area is not included in the
scheduling, although the area immediately to the west, south of the vallum, is
included. Observations of development on the site of the former Miles McInnes
Hall by Caruana in 1986 also found traces of buildings and occupation
belonging to the civil settlement on the west side of the fort, dated to the
second half of the the second century AD. As the remains here were totally
destroyed by development, this area is also not included in the scheduling. It
is possible that the civil settlement may have extended further towards
Carlisle although this has not yet been confirmed. It is unlikely that the
area south of the fort below the steep river cliff was occupied because of the
flood plain of the river.
The cemetery belonging to the fort lay east of the fort and is known from the
chance discovery of cremation urns in Croft Road in 1872 and again from the
construction of houses in Croft Road in 1936. The full extent of the cemetery
has not yet been confirmed and the area of these discoveries has not been
included in the scheduling as the survival of remains in the built-up area has
not been confirmed. There is a strong possibility that the western part of the
cemetery may lie within the area of protection. Two tombstones originating
from the cemetery at Stanwix have been recovered, one of Marcus Troianus
Augustus and the other of a cavalryman, but both have been moved, one to
Drawdykes Castle and the other to the Senhouse Museum, Maryport.
The course of the road, known as the Military Way, that ran the length of
Hadrian's Wall connecting forts, milecastles and turrets has not been
confirmed in this section. However a metalled road up to to 10m wide was
identified in the excavations by Smith in 1976, in the adjoining scheduling to
the east. This road ran south of and close to the Wall and was in use in the
medieval period but it may have followed the line of the Military Way, the
line being spread with continued use. The deviation of Tarraby Lane from the
line of the Wall west of Wall Knowe to run straight towards the probable
position of the east gate of the fort would suggest that it follows the line
of the Military Way. The line of the road on the west side of the fort has not
yet been identified. Military Way is not visible on the ground and it survives
as a buried feature.
The course of the vallum is known at either end of the monument from
excavations. The vallum was located by excavation 100m east of Dykes Terrace
by Simpson in 1932, and again immediately west of Dykes Terrace in excavations
by the English Heritage Central Excavation Unit under Smith in 1976.
Excavation in Rickerby Park by Simpson in 1934 has confirmed the course of the
vallum west of the fort, including the turn of the ditch towards Hadrian's
Wall before it descends Stanwix Bank towards the river. The course of the
vallum was unsuccessfully sought south of the fort in excavations by Simpson
in 1933 and 1934, when a ditch that was found and initially thought to be the
vallum ditch turned out to be the south ditch of the fort. The course of the
vallum south of the fort has not yet been confirmed although it is possible
that erosion of the steep cliff above the river flood plain may have resulted
in loss of some of the vallum south of the fort.
All buildings, including Homeacres Cottage and The Cottage, Homeacres, the
gateway to Stanwix House, St Michael's Church, The Vicarage, the gates to The
Old Vicarage and two 19th century monuments which are all Listed Grade II, all
road and pavement surfaces, boundary walls and property divisions, fences and
field boundaries, street furniture and signs are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included. The area which includes Stanwix
House Cottage and the houses and gardens on the south side of Kells Place, the
area which includes the Crown and Thistle public house and Nos 49-51 Church
Street and their associated gardens and the area which includes Nos 3-5 Church
Lane and Muncaster House and its garden north of the house are totally
excluded from the scheduling.

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 features between the field boundary west of
Wall Knowe and Scotland Road survive well as buried remains and will contain
significant information on the development of the frontier system over time.
Stanwix Roman fort is of particular importance as the largest fort on
Hadrian's Wall, being garrisoned by the only thousand-strong cavalry unit, the
ala Petriana, in Roman Britain. Its commanding officer was the senior
commander on the Wall and the layout of its interior which at present is
little understood will reflect its unique importance and character.
The survival of the parade ground is particularly unusual; this being the only
one identified along the wall.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Collingwood, R J, Wright, R P, Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Volume 1 The Inscriptions on Stone, (1956), 621
Collingwood, R J, Wright, R P, Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Volume 1 The Inscriptions on Stone, (1956), 621
Caruana, I, 'The Eleventh Pilgrimage of Hadrian's Wall, 1989' in Stanwix, (1979), 31-2
Dacre, J A, 'TCWAAS' in An Excavation on the Roman Fort at Stanwix, Carlisle, , Vol. ser 2,85, (1985), 53-69
Esmonde-Cleary, A S, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain in 1993, , Vol. 25, (1994), 263
Hogg, R, 'TCWAAS' in The Historic Crossings of the River Eden at Stanwix, , Vol. 52, (1952), 154
Simpson, F G, Richmond, I A, 'Journal of Roman Studies' in Hadrian's Wall, , Vol. 31, (1941), 129-30
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1934, , Vol. 35, (1935), 257
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee for 1933, , Vol. 34, (1934), 155-7
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Carlisle and Stanwix, (1933), 275-6
Simpson, F G, 'TCWAAS' in Carlisle and Stanwix, (1933), 275-6
Smith, G H, 'Britannia' in Excavations near Hadrian's Wall at Tarraby Lane, 1976, (1978), 19-57
Smith, G H, 'Britannia' in Excavations near Hadrian's Wall at Tarraby Lane, 1976, (1978), 19-57
Zant, J , 'Carlisle Archaeological Unit Client Reports' in Stanwix Primary School, Report Of An Archaeological Evaluation, (1997)
Zant, J , 'Carlisle Archaeological Unit Client Reports' in Stanwix Primary School, Report Of An Archaeological Evaluation, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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