Wall Mile 73

Wall Mile 73 [HB 357–8]

The Turf Wall was eventually replaced by the Stone Wall. It is thought the stretch between Milecastle 54 and Bowness was not constructed in stone until after the abandonment of the Antonine Wall in the AD 160s. This stone curtain wall was built to an average width of 2.45m (and has come to be known as the Intermediate Gauge wall, since it was partway between the two predominant widths of curtain wall in the east, the Broad and Narrow Gauges). It was furnished with new stone milecastles, whilst retaining the old free-standing stone turrets, against which the curtain wall butted.

Although most of Wall Mile 73 crossed Burgh Marsh, a short length of the Wall before Milecastle 73 has been identified where the ground begins to slope up from the marshes.


The edge of Burgh Marsh at Dykesfield

Meanwhile, back on the road, we leave the marsh and begin to climb gently at Dykesfield, after crossing a cattle grid; it is another drumlinoid, this one including the fort at Burgh-by-Sands. Away to the north-east, on the edge of the marsh, there is a Victorian reconstruction of a 17th-century monument commemorating the death of Edward I, just in case we had forgotten that it was feasible for an army to ford the Solway here. Less distant, but still remote from our present course, the line of the Wall runs to the north of the road and, as you might expect by now, there is little to see.

Milecastle 73 (Dykesfield) [HB 356–7; haiku]

The position of Milecastle 73 (Dykesfield) has been tested through geophysical survey and located on the ground sloping up from Burgh Marsh near Watch Hill, where Horsley thought there was ‘a castellum, for at this place they have dug up a larger quantity of stones than the bare thickness of the Wall could well have afforded’.