Wall Mile 2

Wall Mile 2 [HB 141–2]

The Fossway (the road – ‘way’ – in the ditch – ‘foss’) leads us to another roundabout and we must cross over to get to Shields Road. Standing near the bicycle shop, the view to the west in the 18th century would have looked something like the etching from Stukeley. In it, the ditch (right of centre) and remains of the curtain wall (left of centre) were clearly visible back then, along with (in the distance) the earthwork of Milecastle 3 perched on the eastern rim of the Ouseburn valley. Now you see a street of shops.

Stukeley's etching of Wall Mile 2

Stukeley’s etching of Wall Mile 2

Following the southern pavement for a while until the shops open out to our left, we find another tangible trace of the curtain wall, albeit rather less impressive than the Wallsend section. The foundations of the curtain wall and small metal studs marking the location of more berm pits have been laid out in the plaza for all to see.

Curtain wall foundations on Shields Road

Curtain wall foundations on Shields Road

Once we have inspected these, we can turn left back onto Shields Road and head westwards again until we reach the small roundabout outside Morrison’s. Crossing carefully towards the BP garage and then working our way across the dual carriageway (passing underneath the elevated Metro lines), we soon see a building standing on the south side of the road and at the east end of the bridge. This is the probable location of Milecastle 3.

Milecastle 3 (Ouseburn) [HB 142; haiku]

Some confusion arises over the precise position of this milecastle, but it is very clearly shown on the east side of the valley on Stukeley’s etching, so quibbles of this nature need not detain us for too long. Although the physical remains of the milecastle have never been seen, an altar set up by a priest (sacerdos) called Iulius Maximus almost certainly comes from it (we shall encounter this association of altars with milecastles again, so this may well be the nearest thing to a smoking gun we are going to get).