Hadrian’s Wall – Milecastle 9 – Chapel House
Roman Mile Castle in Newcastle upon Tyne
Milecastle 9 (Chapel House) was a milecastle of the Roman Hadrian’s Wall. Its remains exist partially as a low platform, and are located in West Denton (to the west of Newcastle upon Tyne), 300 yards (270 m) from Chapel House Farm. However, the northern part of the remains are now mostly covered by the modern roads (A69/B6528). The milecastle marks a watershed between those with relatively well defined positions (to the west) and those whose position are less certain (to the east).
Milecastle 9 was a long-axis milecastle with Type IV gateways (a broad wall variation of Type II gateways).). Such milecastles were thought to have been constructed by the Legio XX Valeria Victrix who were based in Deva Victrix (Chester). The only other known milecastles with Type IV gateways are Milecastle 27 and possibly Milecastle 10.
The milecastle had internal dimensions of 48 feet 10 inches (14.88 m) wide by 60 feet (18 m) long, with gates 9 feet (2.7 m) wide. The side walls were 9 feet (2.7 m) thick with the south wall being slightly narrower and having rounded internal and external corners to the side walls. The side walls were constructed of a clay and rubble core, with mortared facing stones. Seven stones from the base course were found to bear numerals (5 of ‘VIII’, 1 of ‘VIIII’ and one of ‘IX’). It is possible that these were cut at the quarry.
A posthole has been found in the western portion of Milecastle 9, possibly indicating an earlier timber structure. The barrack block covered a reasonably small 32m2. As a result, it has been suggested that the garrison size was 8 men, smaller than many other milecastles (which had up to 32). The stone built barracks was extended in the third century and another building of unknown function erected close by to the west.