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Haltwhistle Burn Fortlet

Hob Uid: 15350
Location :
Northumberland
Haltwhistle
Grid Ref : NY7145066150
Summary : The site of a Roman fortlet with internal features, surviving as an earthwork. The Stanegate, the Roman road from Corbridge (Corio) to Carlisle (Luguvalium), had to negotiate the steep and narrow valley of the Haltwhistle Burn just to the S of Cawfields; from about AD 105 this crossing-point was guarded by a fortlet. Some of the internal features, excavated in 1908, including a barrack block and officers' quarters, are still visible as earthworks. Externally, the defences were strengthened by the provision of an outwork. The Roman road almost clips the SE corner of this outwork and turns W at each of the crests above the burn, which was crossed at a slight angle. To the N lay Burnhead Crag, along the crest of which Hadrian's Wall was built; the Crag was removed by quarrying in the 20th century. The Vallum here lay close to the Wall, at the foot of the dip slope on the S side of the Crag. Between the Vallum and the fortlet (NY 76 NW 15) three camps were constructed, one of which was later halved in size. The chronological relationship of the camps to the other features of Roman date in the immediate vicinity is unknown. The area around the fortlet has been disturbed by watercourse and by the tracks and tramways associated with the 19th-century ironstone mines 400 m to the E. The scarps on the E bank of the burn have also been extensively quarried away. The ditches are well-preserved and survive in excellent condition, their V-shape accentuated by the cutting of shallow modern drainage ditches. The NE angle has however become silted, the S sector is 2.1 m deep internally with an irregular outer glacis, 0.7 m maximum height. The N ditch, a re-use of an existing natural gully, deepens towards its W end, the internal glacis, irregular in plan, is 0.9 m high. Corresponding with the gates in the N and E are two entrance causeways each with vague traces of a metalled track crossing them.
More information : [NY 71446615] ROMAN FORT [G.S.] Excavated AD 1908 [T.I.] (1)

A Roman fortlet situated at Haltwhistle Burn on the line of the Stanegate, representing an addition to the Stanegate series of forts. Its overall measurements are about 210 ft. x 170 ft. with stone-faced ramparts and internal stone buildings. The east and south walls have single portal gateways with a postern on the west, the whole facing eastward and lying within a larger enclosing ditch. Excavations in 1907-8 showed that it was first occupied in the early years of Hadrian, but was carefully demolished about the time that Greatchesters [NY 76 NW 11] was constructed. (2)

Correctly described and generally well preserved, though little of the internal detail is now discernible. Resurveyed at 1/2500. (3)

Good A.P.'s of site. (4-6)

This camp has been re-assessed in connection with RCHME's survey and publication of Roman Camps in Britain. The following descriptive account is taken from both the published and unpublished survey notes.
The Stanegate, the Roman road from Corbridge (Corio) to Carlisle (Luguvalium), had to negotiate the steep and narrow valley of the Haltwhistle Burn just to the S of Cawfields; from about AD 105 this crossing-point was guarded by a fortlet (Gibson and Simpson 1909 (7a); Breeze and Dobson 1985, 8 (7b)). Some of the internal features, excavated in 1908, including a barrack block and officers' quarters, are still visible as earthworks. Externally, the defences were strengthened by the provision of an outwork (cf Wilson 1984 (7c)). The Roman road almost clips the SE corner of this outwork and turns W at each of the crests above the burn, which was crossed at a slight angle. To the N lay Burnhead Crag, along the crest of which Hadrian's Wall was built; the Crag was removed by quarrying in the 20th century. The Vallum here lay close to the Wall, at the foot of the dip slope on the S side of the Crag. Between the Vallum and the fortlet (NY 76 NW 15) three camps were constructed, one of which was later halved in size. The chronological relationship of the camps to the other features of Roman date in the immediate vicinity is unknown. The area around the fortlet has been disturbed by watercourse and by the tracks and tramways associated with the 19th-century ironstone mines 400 m to the E. The scarps on the E bank of the burn have also been extensively quarried away. The ditches are well-preserved and survive in excellent condition, their V-shape accentuated by the cutting of shallow modern drainage ditches. The NE angle has however become silted, the S sector is 2.1 m deep internally with an irregular outer glacis, 0.7 m maximum height. The N ditch, a re-use of an existing natural gully, deepens towards its W end, the internal glacis, irregular in plan, is 0.9 m high. Corresponding with the gates in the N and E are two entrance causeways each with vague traces of a metalled track crossing them. In the northern example it must have extended to join with Stanegate but is interrupted by a later hollow-way. At the SW corner the ditch turns in a NW direction and terminates at the edge of a disused quarry which encroaches up to the W wall of the fortlet. This is clearly the quarry in which Clayton in 1844 had noted a Roman inscription LEG.VI-V on a rock face; the quarry had been re-opened in 1844 and closed shortly afterwards. The inscription was destroyed soon after its discovery. Clayton surmised that the quarry was used in the construction of Hadrians' Wall. (see auth 7a). Full information is included in the NMR Archive. (7)

The fortlet was recorded at a scale of 1:10000 from aerial photographs as part of Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site Mapping Project. (9)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (10)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 25" 1921
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Research on Hadrian's Wall
Source details :
Page(s) : 145-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : CUCAP K17 AB269 16-JAN-1973
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 10
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RWE 08-JUN-66
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Roman Britain from the air
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates : 31
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Hadrian's Wall from the air
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates : 20
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Roman frontier studies 1979: papers presented to the 12th International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates : 11.2
Vol(s) : S71 (i-iii)
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Humphrey Welfare and Vivien Swan/1994/RCHME: Roman Camps in England Project
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7a
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (Gibson, J P. and Simpson, F G.) 'The Roman fort on the Stanegate at Haltwhistle Burn'
Page(s) : 213-85
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1909
Source Number : 7b
Source : Roman military deployment in North England
Source details :
Page(s) : Jan-19
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16
Source Number : 7c
Source : Defensive outworks of Roman forts in Britain [classified]
Source details :
Page(s) : 51-61
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fortlet
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 7166/33
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26014
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 28
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 76 NW 15
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 15441
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 15344
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 915764
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 15339
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 915574
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 911991
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, HALTWHISTLE BURN, (STANEGATE)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1907-01-01
End Date : 1908-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON NY 76 NW 15
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1966-06-08
End Date : 1966-06-08
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: HALTWHISTLE BURN 1, 2, 3 & 4 ROMAN CAMPS
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: HADRIAN'S WALL PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1993-08-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: HADRIAN'S WALL WHS MAPPING PROJECT, NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AROUND HALTWHISTLE BURN
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2017-12-31