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Burgh by Sands Roman fort, Beaumont camp, Burgh Castle and Hadrian's Wall from boundary west of churchyard, Beaumont to Burgh Head in wall miles 70 and 71

A Scheduled Monument in Burgh by Sands, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.9227 / 54°55'21"N

Longitude: -3.0388 / 3°2'19"W

OS Eastings: 333519.009427

OS Northings: 559164.513465

OS Grid: NY335591

Mapcode National: GBR 7C6J.X4

Mapcode Global: WH7ZV.9J6J

Entry Name: Burgh by Sands Roman fort, Beaumont camp, Burgh Castle and Hadrian's Wall from boundary west of churchyard, Beaumont to Burgh Head in wall miles 70 and 71

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1928

Last Amended: 18 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018457

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26116

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Burgh by Sands

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kirkandrews-on-Eden with Beaumont St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Hadrian's Wall and its associated features between the
field boundary at the west side of the churchyard belonging to St Mary's
Church at Beaumont in the east and Burgh Head in Burgh by Sands in the west,
as well as Burgh by Sands Roman fort, Beaumont temporary camp south of
Hadrian's Wall and the site of a medieval earthwork castle known as Burgh

Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout the whole of this
section. Its course in the area of Burgh Castle, south east of Speergarth
Holes, has been confirmed by excavation by Hogg in 1950. The wall ditch was
also confirmed to survive as a buried feature north of the Wall in the 1950
excavation. In addition a further length of the Wall line was confirmed west
of Burgh Castle by geophysical survey in 1991. The results of this survey
indicate that there are two lines taken by the Wall, the southern one
representing the primary Turf Wall running close to the modern road, while the
second line heads north west from Burgh Castle and meets the north east corner
of the fort, also identified in the geophysical survey. This more northern
line is thought to represent a realignment of the Wall when the fort was built
so that the fort lay wholly to the rear of the Wall and did not partly project
north of it. This realignment may have been carried out as late as the third
century AD.
Milecastle 71 survives as a buried feature. Its position was located in 1960
by Bartle although this has not been confirmed since. According to Bartle it
is situated south east of the western end of Milldikes Lane.
The precise locations of turrets 70b, 71a and 71b have not yet been confirmed.
On the basis of the usual spacing, turret 70b is expected to be located about
540m west of St Mary's Church to the south of Milldikes Lane, turret 71a near
to the footbridge over Greathill Beck, and turret 71b is probably under the
site of Burgh fort in the area of the modern graveyard which is totally
excluded from the scheduling.
The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the
corridor between the Wall and vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts,
has not yet been confirmed in this section. A length of road, 8m wide, is
known approximately 60m east of the fort from excavations in 1980 by Jones,
but it is uncertain if this was the Military Way or another street within the
extra-mural civil settlement.
A Roman temporary camp has been identified 80m to the south of the west end of
Milldikes Lane 40m south of the course of Hadrian's Wall on the gently sloping
south facing side of a spur overlooking the Powburgh Beck. Although only the
eastern segment of the camp was recorded from crop marks visible on aerial
photographs, sufficient remains were identified to allow the full extent of
the site to be postulated. The only complete side identified is the east
side. The site of the camp is overlain by narrow ridge and furrow, the product
of medieval or later cultivation on the site.
The Wall fort at Burgh, known to the Romans as Aballava, lies astride the
southern of the two lines of Hadrian's Wall. Excavation in 1922 by
Collingwood confirmed the position of the east wall and gateway as well as
observing the stone footings of barrack blocks. Geophysical survey in 1991
provided further confirmation of the north and east sides of the fort as well
as indicating that Hadrian's Wall was realigned to meet the north east corner
of the fort. Excavations in 1993 by Flynn confirmed the primary line of the
wall ditch at Demesne Farm, 6m wide and 2.2m deep, which was later infilled
and buildings associated with the fort constructed on clay and cobble
foundations. A Roman altar found at Beaumont in 1934 shows that in the third
century the fort was garrisoned by Aurelian Moors. The full extent of the fort
is unknown as the west and south sides of its defences have not been
The remains of an extra-mural settlement, usually known as a vicus, were
discovered beyond the east side of the fort during in 1980 and 1982 by Jones
in the garden of the former vicarage. The remains included the foundations of
buildings fronting onto a road running east-west. The recovery of large
quantities of slag and charcoal indicate that metalworking was taking place.
Further indications of vicus buildings were revealed by the geophysical
survey in 1991 east of the fort, north of the modern road in the area between
the primary wall ditch and the realignment of the Wall to meet the north east
corner of the fort. It is likely that the vicus was extensive and
extended round both the southern and eastern sides of the fort. As the full
extent of the vicus is not yet fully understood, only those remains which have
been confirmed to survive are included in the scheduling.
The course of the vallum in this section is known both from observations in
the adjacent sections of Hadrian's Wall to the east and west. A substantial
ditch to the south of the former vicarage was discovered in excavations in
1980 by Jones, and, although its full extent was not examined, it is likely to
have been the ditch of the vallum. If this is so, the vallum in this
section of the monument runs slightly to the north of the line depicted by the
Ordnance Survey. There are no indications of the earthwork visible on the
ground and it survives entirely as buried remains.
The site of the medieval Burgh Castle was investigated in 1950 and was shown
to retain evidence of four phases of activity during the medieval period. A
first earthwork motte and bailey was built during the Norman period. Later
this evolved into a medieval grange site which in turn was replaced in the
late 12th century by a stone-built castle. In the 13th century a hall-building
was constructed. This was destroyed c.1339.
The modern graveyard of St Mary's Church is totally excluded from the
All field boundaries, road surfaces and buildings 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 identifiable.
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.
Whilst all the forts added to the Wall are broadly similar in size, no two are
exactly alike and there is no standard internal layout. However, when
originally built, all forts enclosed a fairly standard range of buildings
including a headquarters building, commandant's house, hospital, barracks,
stables, granaries and workshops. The size and number of barracks blocks has,
in the past, been used to determine the size and type of military unit
stationed there. This is a difficult exercise which remains the subject of
much debate. The area outside the fort was put to a variety of uses. There was
usually a bath house and normally a number of temples, burial grounds and
other official establishments such as lodging houses for official visitors.
Over time sprawling external settlements known as vici grew up around many
forts. These housed a range of people and activities attracted by the military
presence. Some of the inhabitants may have been families of troops stationed
on the Wall, although it was not until the third century that soldiers on
active duty were officially permitted to marry. Others may have been retired
soldiers and their families. Traders and merchants are also thought to have
set up workshops and shops in the vici. The most common type of building found
here, as well as in other areas around forts, was the long narrow strip
building. These appear to have been used for both domestic and commercial

Hadrian's Wall, Burgh Roman fort and a Roman temporary camp from the east end
of St Mary's Church at Beaumont to Burgh Head, survive as a series of buried
remains. These remains have significant archaeological potential, as confirmed
by recent excavations, and will retain information on the development of the
frontier works over time.
The site of Burgh medieval castle has been confirmed by excavation and the
site has been shown to have had an interesting history in its own right
involving a sequence of buildings.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Daniels, C, The Eleventh Pilgrimage of Hadrian's Wall, (1989), 23-24
Daniels, C, The Eleventh Pilgrimage of Hadrian's Wall, (1989), 22-24
Collingwood, R G, 'Transactions Cumbl/d Westm/ld Antiq and Arc Society' in Explorations at the Roman Fort of Burgh By Sands, , Vol. 23, (1923), 3-13
Grew, F, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain in 1980, , Vol. XII, (1981), 325
Hogg, R, 'Transactions of the Cumbl/d and Westm/ld Antiq and Arc Society' in Excavations of the Fortified Manor House at Burgh by Sands, , Vol. 54, (1954), 105-118
Jones, B, 'Britannia' in Roman Britain in 1980, , Vol. 12, (1981), 325

Source: Historic England

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