Haltwhistle Burn Fortlet

Fort

The small fort at Haltwhistle Burn, and another on the Stanegate at Throp, represent the first examples in Britain of a new element in the Roman military, the small fort or fortlet. These camps were designed to house only part of a normal unit, and the only difference between a small fort and a fortlet being that no provision was allowed in a fortlet for administrative buildings, these establishments being contained within the small fort. Excavations conducted within the defenses in 1908 revealed structures at the centre of the camp which have been identified as a small principia or regimental H.Q. building, which means that Haltwhistle should be termed a ‘small fort’.

The fort was protected by a stone-faced rampart backed by an earthen bank and fronted by two v-shaped ditches which remain in an excellent state of preservation. These defenses enclose an area measuring about 210 feet from east to west by 170 feet transversely (c. 64 x 52 m), thereby enclosing an area of just over 0.8 acres (c. 0.3 ha). The Stanegate road approaches from the east and makes an abrupt turn to the south, skirting past the fort’s south-east corner to cross the Haltwhistle Burn just to the south before resuming its eastward trajectory. The western defenses of the fort has been damaged by the eroding effects of the Burn and also by quarrying operations during the early-19th century.

Roman Temporary Marching Camps

In addition to the four camps north of the Haltwhistle fort itself, which are detailed above, there are many other Roman temporary marching camps in the area; there are two on the west side of the Caw Burn at Markham Cottage, another on the south side of the Stanegate to the south-east at Milestone House, and others on the ‘Barbarian’ side of Hadrian’s Wall to the north at Cawfields and to the north-west at Burnhead and Chesters Pike.

Map References for Haltwhistle Burn Fortlet

NGRef: NY715662 OSMap: LR86/87

OS National Grid Reference: NY 7145 6615
Dimensions: 210 x 170 feet c. 64 x 52 m
Area: 0.8 acres c. 0.3 ha

Roman Roads near Haltwhistle Burn Fortlet

Probable Trackway: N (0.25) to Cawfields (Northumberland) Stanegate: E (3.5) to Vindolanda (Chesterholm, Northumberland) Stanegate: W (3.5) to Magnis Carvetiorvm (Carvoran, Northumberland) Stanegate: E (1) to Seatsides Stanegate: W (1.25) to Svnny Rigg