Hadrian’s Wall – Turret 52a - Banks East

Hadrian's Wall Turret

Banks East in Cumbria is the best preserved turret or observation tower in the western sector of Hadrian’s Wall, where the Wall, instigated on the orders of the emperor Hadrian in AD 122, was originally made from turf. Originally there were two such turrets to every Roman mile along Hadrian’s Wall, each manned by a few soldiers watching over the frontier. Banks East Turret remained in use until late in the 4th century AD.

This site is notable not only because of the fine state of preservation of the remains, but also as the rampart wall hereabouts is fronted by a prominent rise, which must have been almost as tall as the height of the original wall-walk. This rising ground before the rampart led to the designers of the Wall having to provide a number of drainage-channels through the wall foundations. This also exemplifies the inflexibility of the Roman military mindset at times, when the logical approach would have been to build the barrier along the top of the ridge itself.

Banks East was the first part of the Wall to enter state protection when it was granted to the government by the landowners and passed into the care of the Ancient Monuments department in 1934.

There are more turret remains ¾ mile to the east at Leahill.

Roman Roads near Banks Turret (east)

Hadrian’s Wall: W (4.25) to Birdoswald (Birdoswald, Cumbria) Hadrian’s Wall: E (2.5) to Camboglanna (Castlesteads, Cumbria)

Sites near Hadrian’s Wall – Turret 52a - Banks East