button to main menu  Camden's Britannia, edn 1789

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Page 218:-
nearly two miles and a furlong, and no inscriptions have been discovered in this space; at least none now remain, nor even the remembrance of any.
  Benwell Hill
  Denton Hall
  Milecastle 8??

"Upon BENWEL hill are the plain remains of a Roman station. And I make not doubt but that to the south of it there have been, as usual, some outbuildings, though now demolished and leveled by the plough. The situation of it is high, and the prospect considerable. The ramparts are large and distinct in the second degree, but the ditch scarce to be discerned. Hadrian's vallum seems to have fallen in with the south side of it, and Severus's wall strikes upon the east and west sides, so as to leave three chains to the north and six to the south. But there is no appearance of the wall and its ditch being continued through the fort, though Mr. Gordon has so represented it [p]. And at Rutchester, the next fort to this, where the wall also strikes upon the side of the fort, both the wall and ditch are plainly discontinued. There are stones in the road that now crosses this fort, but these seem only to have been taken out of the ruins to repair the highway. The inscriptions found here will be mentioned in their proper place. Severus's wall and ditch in going down from hence to Denton continue much in the same state as before. But Hadrian's work on this side begin to appear more conspicuous. Both the walls pass to the north of the hall and village of Benwel, which is not improbably thought to have its name from the northern word ben, signifying within, and wel for wall, as being seated within, or on the south side of the wall. From Denton to the Chapel houses both the walls and their ditches are almost all the way visible and distinct, generally in the second degree. Over against west Denton hall there seemed to be the visible remains of a castellum; and somewhat like the ruins of a turret, not very far from it.
  Chapel Houses
  Milecastle 9

"Near the Chapel houses about a furlong south from Severus's wall, and less from Hadrian's, are somewhat like the ruins of a rampart. It is called the Castle-steeds, the name usually given to those castella that are regularly placed along Severus's wall. But this (besides its being at some distance from the wall which the other never are) appears to have been of a quite different form and dimensions. For it is about four chains long, with an interval in the middle, that looks like a gate, and so makes it appear very like the south rampart of a small fort. But if there have been ramparts on the other sides, no traces of them appear at present. The prospect here, especially to the south, is very considerable. Perhaps it has been an exploratory tower belonging to Hadrian's work, and prior to Severus's; and so neglected in his time. The usual castellum belonging to Severus's wall is about a furlong west from the Chapel houses, and visible there; so that the other can neither be one of these, nor intended to supply the place of one. From the name Chapel houses one would expect to find some ruinous chapel there: and I should have suspected these ruins to have been somewhat of that nature, if the name Castle-steeds had not determined against it.
  Milecastle 10

"From Chapel houses to Walbottle [q] both walls and ditches are pretty visible, generally in the second degree, and continue so to Newburn deen. But on the descent from the Chapel houses to Walbottle, Hadrian's north agger becomes visible in the second or third degree, and holds so for the most part to Newburn-deen. Between Walbottle and this deen is a castellum still very visible. And from the deen to Throcklow, Hadrians' vallum and ditch are discernible, but not very large, in the first degree or more, and Severus's wall and ditch in the second or more.
  Milecastle 11

Over against Throcklow, in a convenient high place, there seems to be the ruins of another castellum; but near the village the vallum is very obscure. From Throcklow to Heddon on the wall, Severus's wall and ditch are very conspicuous, each of them mostly in the third degree, and Hadrian's vallum and ditch in the second. The north agger is also discernible for part of the way, and near Heddon it is very considerable, being in the second or third degree.
  Milecastle 12
"Before we come to Heddon, there is on the north side of the wall another place of the same nature with that at Chapel houses, and called likewise Castle-steeds. The remains are very confused, and as it is altogether on the north of the walll, and detached a little from it, I believe it has been somewhat of a castellum prior to the wall, and neglected after the building of it. The prospect of this place is very good, which makes it the more likely to have been of the exploratory kind. However there seems to have been an usual castellum in Severus's wall, very near to these ruins; which is farther proof that the other has not been used after the wall was erected. It seems to have been twice as large as one of Severus's castella, and yet not large enough for a station. Three sides, the north, east, and west, may be traced out, but the other is entirely leveled.
  Heddon on the wall
  Milecastle 13
  Villa ad Murum

"Near Heddon on the wall somewhat appeared like Severus's military way, pretty near to his wall. But I think it rather the stones and ruins of the wall, and that the military ways have here coincided, because the north agger is so large, though in a ploughed field. Not far from this place, there have been some remarkable tumuli. The village Heddon lawes, which stands upon a hill, has no doubt had its name from such tumuli. There is yet remaining one very great heap of stones, besides other tumuli, and a remarkable one farther to the east called Dewly lawe, with a smaller one near it. The whole hill is like the ruins of a quarry, but curious and worth the seeing. If regard be had to the distance of 12 miles from the sea, Heddon on the wall would seem to be Bede's villa ad murum, and not either Wall's-end or Wall-town [r]. From Heddon to Rutchester both the wall and their ditches are distinct, mostly in the second or third degree. And a little before we come to Rutchester, Hadrian's north agger is distinct in about the second degree. Here is another castellum, the remains of which are very visible, and an oval fort (though I think not Roman) near it.
"In this space there are six visible castella in a series without interruption, and the constant exact measure between them is six furlongs and three quarters; and the whole distance between the two stations, six measured miles and three quarters. The two castella that have been next to the fort at Benwel hill, have no visible remains.

"At the fort at RUTCHESTER, Severus's wall runs
[p] Itin. Sept. p.71.
[q] If botle be a Saxon termination, signifying the same as by, ham, ton, &c. 'tis evident that Walbottle near Newburn is no more than Walltown, and that the story about the battle there, supposed to occasion the name, is pure imagination.
[r] Camden, p.1055, Gibson's Edit. and the Survey of Newcastle, p.8.
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