The Milecastle Haiku (Week 8)

Milecastle 49

Re-housed Harrow’s Scar.
Precarious ruin high
Above golden gorge.

Milecastle 50

Cold stone twinned with turf,
Two milecastles for the price
of just one: High House.

Milecastle 51

Turf wall and stone wall
Re-unite at Wall Bowers.
Earthworks glimpsed through gate.

Milecastle 52

Bankshead farm still interrupts
The Wall even now.

Milecastle 53

Hare Hill looming near,
Banks Burn is concealed beneath
Successor dwelling.

Milecastle 54

Sheltered by an oak,
Randylands sees sandstone change,
Grey to red: bloodied.

Milecastle 55

Trees in full broad leaf,
Low Wall squats in a hedgerow,
Knowing the damp ground.

The PLV eboojs

The Milecastle Haiku (Week 7)

Milecastle 42

Nearly lost to a
Stone-hungry quarry, Cawfields
Leans towards the sun.

Milecastle 43

Great Chesters conceals
Its predecessor; damp fort
Shrouds hidden fortlet.

Milecastle 44

Allolee clings to
The dip slope behind crow-soared
Cliffs, watched by bored sheep.

Milecastle 45

Owning the Whin Sill,
Wet and cold, bleak and so old:
Walltown in winter.

Milecastle 46

Carvoran, gateway
To both crags and gentler hills.
Heat haze masks the coast.

Milecastle 47

Gone now, Chapel House:
Blown up. Indifference is
The smoke of progress.

Milecastle 48

Step to the top of
Poltross Burn‘s sun-baked sloping
Railside seclusion.

Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Newcastle to Benwell)


The inscriptions come from four disparate locations, three of them close to the line of the Wall, one 6km to the north (but assumed to come from the Wall).


RIB 1323

RIB 1323

RIB 1323: coh(ors) I Th/racum (‘First Cohort of Thracians (built this)’). Building stone found 1864 in Clavering Place. Source: RIB II p.438

RIB 1324: coh(ors) VII / […] (‘Seventh Cohort …’). Building stone found 1826 in North Gosforth Chapel. Source: RIB II p.438

RIB 1325: …II O / F[E]IIIIOI (‘?’). Found 1932 Express Hotel outbuilding. Source: RIB II p.438

RIB 1326: VIII (‘8’). Building stone found 1890 at Rye Hill. Source: RIB II p.438


RIB 1323 comes from close to the likely line of the Vallum; elsewhere, building stones recording work by auxiliaries have been associated with that component of the Wall system. RIB 1324 has travelled some way in order to be built into the medieval chapel in Gosforth. Although there is no guarantee it comes from the Wall, there are few other convenient sources in the area. RIB 1325 is now lost but on the line of the curtain wall, whilst the enigmatic RIB 1326 again comes from close to the Vallum.

Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Newcastle)


The inscriptions come from six locations, two of them being excavations within the area of the fort, three reused as spolia prior to deposition, and one apparently in situ from the site of the Roman bridge.


RIB 1316: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / pro salu/te et victor/ia Augusti (‘For Jupiter Best and Greatest, for the health and victory of the Emperor’). Altar found in 1932 in extending the old county council offices. Source: RIB II p.435

RIB 1317: [I(ovi] O(ptimo) M(aximo) et / [Nu]mini [… / … / D]is Hospital(ibus) / …] S{…]AE / [… (‘For Jupiter Best and Greatest and for the Deity [of the Emperor…] and to the gods of hospitality…’). Altar found 1929 in the fort. Source: RIB II p.435

RIB 1318

RIB 1318

RIB 1318: Dea(bus) / Matribus Tramarinis / Patri(i)s Aurelius Iuvenalis / s(acrum) (‘For the mother goddesses of his native land across the sea, Aurelius Iuvenalis offered this’). Dedication found 1858 in Mitchell’s printers, cathedral churchyard. Source: RIB II p.436

RIB 1319

RIB 1319

RIB 1319: Neptuno le(gio) / VI Vi(ctrix) / P(ia) F(idelis) (‘For Neptune, the Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis (set this up)’). Altar found 1875 in north channel of Tyne during construction of the Swing Bridge. Source: RIB II p.436

RIB 1320

RIB 1320

RIB 1320: Ociano leg(io) / VI Vi(ctrix) / P(ia) F(idelis) (‘For Ocianus, the Sixth Legion Victrix Pia Fidelis (set this up)’). Altar found 1875 in north channel of Tyne during construction of the Swing Bridge. Source: RIB II pp.436–7

RIB 1321

RIB 1321

RIB 1321: D(e)o / Silvano / G(aius) Val(erius) / [… (‘For the god Silvanus, Gaius Valerius (set this up) …’). Altar found in 1843 in the Whitefriars Tower of the city wall. Source: RIB II p.437

RIB 1322

RIB 1322

RIB 1322: Imp(erator) Antoni/no Aug(usto) Pio p(atri) / pat(riae) vexil(l)atio / leg(ioni) II Aug(ustae) et leg(ioni) / VI Vic(trici) et leg(ioni) / XX V(aleriae) V(ictrici) con(t)r(i)/buti ex Ger(maniis) du/obus sub Iulio Ve/ro leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore) (‘For the Emperor Antoninus Augustus Pius, father of the country, the vexillation contributed from the two Germanies under Iulius Verus, propraetorian legate of the Emperor, for the Second Legion Augusta, Sixth Legion Victrix, and Twentieth Legion Valeria Victrix, (set this up)’). Dedication found 1903 dredging the north channel of the Tyne by the Swing Bridge. Source: RIB II p.437

RIB 3282: Matribus / [B]uc[c]io / [mi]les leg(ionis) / [XX V(aleriae) V(ictricis) / [… (‘For the mother goddesses, Buccio, soldier of the Twentieth Legion Valera Victrix…’). Altar found 1977 in excavations at the Castle. Source: RIB III p.282

RIB 3283: […]/cto ar[a]m / fecit [S]atu/rninus v(oto) s(oluto) / pro [se et suis] (‘…]cto Saturninus made the altar, fulfilling his vow for himself and his kin’). Altar found 1977 in excavations at the Castle. Source: RIB III p.283

RIB 3284: Iulia[e Aug(ustae)] / no[strae matri] / [Aug(usti) nostri M(arci) Au]/reli Anto[nini ac] / cas[tr(orum) ac sen(atus)] / ac pat(riae) [pro pietate] / ac dev[otione] / [curante G(aio) Iul(io) Marco] / leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) [pr(aetore) coh(ors) I Ulpia] / Traiana C[ugernorum] / c(ivium) R(omanorum) [posuit] (‘For our Iulia Augusta, mother of our Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and of the camps and senate and country, from duty and loyalty, under [Gaius Iulius Marcus], the Emperor’s prpraetorian legate, the First Cohort of Cugerni Ulpia Traiana, Roman citizens, [(set this up)]’). Statue base found in 1979 in excavations in the Castle. Source: RIB III p.284


Only one inscription (RIB 3284) relates to the likely garrison of the fort at Newcastle during the early 3rd century AD, the cohors I Ulpia Traiana Cugernorum c. R. (which differs from the unit mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum, the cohors I Cornoviorum). Of greater interest are the two altars (RIB 1319–20) recording the arrival by sea (dedications to Neptune and Ocean and reliefs of anchors and tridents give the game away) of part (or perhaps all) of legio VI Victrix, possibly around the time of Hadrian’s arrival in the province, and presumably to help build the Wall. These, together with the slab (RIB 1322) recording the arrival of reinforcements for the British legions in the 150s, all come from the Tyne near the likely site of the Roman bridge and suggest dedications fittingly set up over water and the fact that Newcastle (and not South Shields) was being used as a port of disembarkation for troops. Aurelius Iuvenalis’ wistful altar inscription (RIB 1318) may also hint at a sea crossing and it is tempting to see the legionary soldier [B]uc[c]io’s dedication (RIB 3282) in the same light (remembering RIB 1322), but a legionary garrison or detachment on the site at some point cannot be completely ruled out. Why that draft of legionaries should be brought into Newcastle, rather than further north (e.g. Cramond) or south (e.g. York), is anybody’s guess.

The Milecastle Haiku (Week 6)

Milecastle 35

Verdant Sewingshields.
No gate through the wall but a
Clear view from the crags.

Milecastle 36

A fine spring day on
King’s Hill. Arthur sleeps soundly
Beneath beetling crags.

Milecastle 37

The north gate narrowed,
Shared summer words at Housesteads
Will always endure.

Milecastle 38

The Dutch are coming!
Hotbank, with its inscription
And by-passed earthworks.

Milecastle 39

Between two mauve hills:
Castle Nick, that old milking
Parlour in a gap.

Milecastle 40

Winshields shields the whin.
Desolate above its scarp,
Braving the north wind.

Milecastle 41

Melkridge hides under
Its grassy blanket, safe from
Snow, not walkers’ feet.

The PLV eboojs

Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Wallsend to Newcastle)


The inscriptions come from four locations, with all again having moved as spolia prior to deposition.


The first four inscriptions were seen by Horsley at Cousin’s House (later Carville Hall), which has subsequently been built over.

RIB 1309

RIB 1309

RIB 1309: c(o)ho(rtis) I / c(enturia) Flori (‘First cohort, century of Florus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1310: coh(ortis) II / c(enturia) Vari Celeri[s] (‘Second cohort, century of Varius Celer’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1311: coh(ortis) III / c(enturia) Senti / Prisci (‘Third cohort, century of Sentius Priscus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1312: coh(ortis) X / c(enturia) Iustini / Secundi (‘Tenth cohort, century of Iustinus Secundus’). Centurial stone seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.434

The next piece was seen built into an outbuilding at Stott’s House Farm.

RIB 1313: Imp… …co (?). Fragment seen in 1783 at Stott’s House Farm, Walker, now lost. Source: RIB II p.434

The only altar in this group comes from the likely site of Milecastle 3, on the eastern lip of the Ouse Burn valley.

RIB 1314

RIB 1314

RIB 1314: Iul(ius) Max/imus sac(erdos) / d(ei) I[…] / O[…] / pe[c{unia) sua] / cu[ravit] / […] (‘Iulius Maximus, priest of the god I[…] undertook from his own money…’). Altar found 1884 at the east end of Byker Bridge (probably from Milecastle 3). Source: RIB II p.434

The final building inscription comes from the valley of the Ouse Burn itself, re-used in the flint mill.

RIB 1315

RIB 1315

RIB 1315: c(enturia) Iuli Numisia/ni Ulpius Can/alius / et L(ucius) Goutius (‘century of Iulius Numisianus, Ulpius Canalius and Lucius Goutius (made this?)’). Building stone found in or before 1807 at Heaton flint mill. Source: RIB II pp.434–5


These are almost exclusively centurial stones, originally built into the fabric of the curtain wall to mark the stints completed by various work gangs (the thinking is that a stone would be placed at either end of a stint). It is generally thought that these were only ever put into the south face of the wall, but a number are known in the north face (some quite low down), so the matter is still open for debate. In each case they usually record the name of the centurion, sometimes the number of the legionary cohort to which they belonged. Exceptionally, some (like RIB 1315) even mention names of those who erected them.

The altar from Milecastle 3 mentions a priest (sacerdos) and we know of  other examples in the Roman army, including priests of Jupiter Dolichenus. Altars are quite common finds at milecastles (we shall encounter several to Cocidius further to the west).

Hadrian’s Wall inscriptions (Wallsend)


The inscriptions come from three main locations, almost all probably having moved as spolia prior to deposition.


The first two stones come from the east (Tynemouth) but are thought to originate from Wallsend.

RIB 1300

RIB 1300

RIB 1300: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / Ael(ius) Rufus / praef(ectus) coh(ortis) / IIII Lingonum (‘For Jupiter Best and Greatest, Aelius Rufus, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Lingones (set this up).’) Altar found 1783 at Tynemouth Priory. Now at Society of Antiquaries, London. Probably 2nd century AD. Source: RIB I p.430

RIB 1305

RIB 1305

RIB 1305: …] typum cum bas[i] / et templum / fecit G(aius) Iu[l(ius)] / Maximinus [c(enturio)] / leg(ionis) VI Vi[c(tricis)] / ex voto (‘This statue and base and temple were set up by Gaius Iulius Maximinus, centurion of the Sixth Legion Victrix, in accordance with a vow’). Statue base found 1783. Thought to be from Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.432

These examples from Wallsend itself (the first three in the vaguest of senses, the last precisely located, since it was excavated).

RIB 1302:…Di]dius Seve/rus praef(ectus) / v(otum) s(oluit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘… Didius Severus, prefect, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found before 1732. Source: RIB II p.431

RIB 1307:…]ico / […] prae / […]um [… (‘… prae[f(ectus)? …’). Altar found 1896 in Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 1308

RIB 1308:Leg(io) II Aug(usta) (‘Second Legion Augusta (made this)’). Building stone found 1867 at Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.433

RIB 3281: …] / ❧ C[…] / Au[g…] / balin[eum …] / a sol[o … (‘… bath-house … from the ground up …’). Building inscription Found 1998; now in Segedunum museum. Probably late 2nd century AD or later. A bath-house was identified in the civil settlement, near the river, in 1814. Source: RIB III p.281

These inscriptions come from west of the fort but may still originate from Wallsend itself. The first stone was amongst a group seen by Horsley at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall) in 1732.

RIB 1306

RIB 1306

RIB 1306: …]vivus / […] Vic / […] s(oluit) (‘…vivus … Vic… fulfilled…’). Dedication seen in 1732 at Cousin’s House (Carville Hall), Wallsend, now lost. Source: RIB II p.432

The second group come from allotments to the west of Cousin’s House.

RIB 1299

RIB 1299

RIB 1299: I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo) / coh(ors) IIII Lin/gonum eq(uitata) / cui attendit / Iul(ius) Honor/atus c(enturio) leg(ionis) II / Aug(ustae) v(otum) s(oluit) l(ibens) m(erito) (‘For Jupiter the Best and Greatest, Iulius Honoratus, centurion of the Second Legion Augusta, who is dealing with the Fourth Cohort of Lingones, willingly and deservedly fulfilled a vow’). Altar found 1892. Source: RIB II p.430

RIB 1301: [I(ovi) O(ptimo)] M(aximo) / [Cor]neli(ius) / Celer pr/aef(ectus) coh(ortis) / IIII Ling(onum) / [… (‘For Jupiter the Best and Greatest, Cornelius Celer, prefect of the Fourth Cohort of Lingones …’). Altar found in 1894 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.430-1

RIB 1303: Deo M(ercurio) s[igil(lum)? / d(edicavit) et p(osuit) coh(ors) / II Ner[vioru]m pago / …]diorum ] (‘For the god Mercury the Second Cohort of Nervii from the region of … dedicated and set up this relief’). Slab found 1894 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.431

RIB 1304: D(eo) M(ercurio) […] DIA/NE (‘For the god Mercury …’). Slab found 1892 near Wallsend. Source: RIB II p.432


These are all stones of the types generally associated with a fort or its attached civil settlement (building inscriptions or dedicatory stones such as altars). They provide evidence for two garrison units (cohortes II Nerviorum and IV Lingonum) as well as a legion possibly involved in construction (II Augusta). IV Lingonum is listed as the late garrison by the Notitia Dignitatum whilst II Nerviorum is recorded at Whitley Castle in AD 213 (RIB 1202). The stone set up by Iulius Honoratus (RIB 1299), a legionary centurion of II Augusta (whether this is a coincidence or not is unclear) ‘cui attendit‘ the cohort of Lingones, is interesting. To find legionary centurions in charge of auxiliary cohorts is quite common, but the phraseology is unusual and may imply a special (disciplinary?) purpose.