Wall Mile 4

Wall Mile 4 [HB 150–1]

We cross the road patiently (the little green men on the crossing seldom synchronise) and plunge down Westgate Road, past the bike shops and ‘greasy spoons’ before we arrive at the ceremonial way known as St James’ Boulevard leading to the magisterial heart of Newcastle (which was briefly no longer called St James, changed to something dully commercial, but is now thankfully back to its proper name), a temple to sport that has been allowed to break all planning good taste and sit on the horizon in exactly the way ugly sports stadia shouldn’t. Ignore it and press on.

Westgate Road, on the line of the Wall ditch

Westgate Road, on the line of the Wall ditch

When this road was punched through and the old porn cinema demolished they found traces of the medieval city ditch but also of the Wall itself, which the property frontages have dutifully been following. Finally, and rather unexpectedly (you’ll see why in a moment), we reach the site of Milecastle 4 (Westgate Road), although the astute will note a slight adjustment in line just before we do.

Milecastle 4 (Westgate Road) [HB 150; haiku]

The site of Milecastle 4

The site of Milecastle 4

Scholarly calculations had long been baffled by the location of this (as it turns out) long-axis milecastle, not least because of the uncertainties we are about to encounter over the course of Wall Mile 3. In 1985, its discovery in the backyard of the Newcastle Arts Centre during the digging of a drain led to Milecastles 5 and 6 being shuffled along a bit from their old hypothetical locations to new hypothetical locations, and all was better. Its position is marked in the Black Swan Yard behind the Arts Centre.

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