Hadrian’s Wall – Milecastle 79 – Solway House
Roman Mile Castle in Carlisle
Milecastle 79 (Solway House) was one of a series of Milecastles or small fortlets built at intervals of approximately one Roman mile along Hadrian’s Wall.
Multi-phase system, the early wood-peat fort was later removed and rebuilt in stone. The mile fort is 350 meters west of Field View Lane and Port Carlisle. The place is marked by a slight elevation in the ground, otherwise no visible residues have remained on the surface. The antiquarian William Hutton carried out a field inspection on this section of Hadrian’s Wall in 1801. The section around the mile fort was the only place west of Carlisle where he found visible remains of the ramparts. Hutton describes it as follows: “… five or six hundred yards long and three feet high … in two places it is six feet high, eight wide and three thick; but without stone facing .. “. Hutton also met a farmer who bragged about that he had already destroyed large parts of the wall. However, he was able to make him promise to spare the remaining parts of the wall. John Kenneth Sinclair St. Joseph made aerial photographs of the area in 1949. The first excavations were carried out by Richmond and Gillam that same year. Since the area was not used for agriculture there, the mile fort was still relatively well preserved. The original wood and peat fortification measured (internally) 14.9 meters from east to west and 12.5 meters from north to south. The coastal marshes around the fort were probably constantly threatened by flooding. This would explain why it was built on a 1.5 meter high artificially raised platform. It was replaced in the late 2nd century by the somewhat larger stone mile fort (internal: 17.7 meters square). The passages of its gates were subsequently made smaller. In the eastern half traces of a half-timbered building have been found.
Visiting Hadrian’s Wall – Milecastle 79 – Solway House