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Sunday, 24 October 2010

Hadrians Wall

The History of the Hadrians Wall
Hadrians Wall has survived for 2000 years - a monument to the the builders and Engineers of the Roman army. The Roman Emperor Hadrian visited Britain in 122AD. The South and West areas of England had been conquered by the Romans but the North was inhabited by a troublesome tribe called the Picts. At this time the Emperor Hadrian introduced a strategy of consolidation - his objective was to restore order in problematic regions of the Roman Empire. He wanted to ensure that Romans maintained their Empire - the days of expansion, instigating and financing invasions of new territories were past. 
 What was the purpose of Hadrians Wall?
The purpose of Hadrians Wall was to 'separate Romans from Barbarians'.
  • Hadrian's Wall was a Roman frontier
  • The purpose of Hadrians Wall was not just to prevent movement
  • Its purpose was to also to control movement - especially the movement of the Picts
What is the location of Hadrians Wall?
Hadrians Wall 
was a Roman frontier - a boundary. It was built across one of the narrowest parts of England, linking two rivers.
  • Hadrians Wall stretched between the East from Wallsend on the river Tyne ( near Newcastle )
  • To the West reaching to the Solway Firth at Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbia
What was the size of Hadrians Wall?
Hadrians Wall 
was a massive boundary measuring 73 miles ( 117km ) in length.
  • Hadrians Wall measured 73 miles long which was equivalent to 80 Roman miles
    • A Roman mile was 5000 feet (1524 meters)
    • The Roman mile originates from the Latin word 'Mille' meaning a thousand
    • A Roman mile was the distance a Roman legion could march in 1000 paces ( equivalent to 2000 steps )
    • The Modern mile is longer - 8 furlongs, 80 chains, 320 rods, 1760 yards or 5280 feet
  • The 42 miles of the Eastern section was the first to be built using stone
  • The 31 miles Western section was initially built using turf - to hasten the completion of the barrier
  • At the highest point it was 3.6 metres high - 12 feet
  • And 2.4 metres wide - eight feet

Who built Hadrians Wall? How long did the wall take to build?
Hadrians Wall  was built by Roman legionaries. These Romans belonged to the 2nd, 6th and 20th legions.
  • A Roman legion during the reign of the Emperor Augustus has been numbered at approx 5000 legionaries
    • A Roman legion was an infantry unit consisting of heavily armed soldiers, called legionaries, equipped with shields, armor, helmets, spears and swords
    • The Roman Emperor Hadrian had a total of 28 legions spread throughout the Empire
  • The men of the Roman Legions were skilled in building roads, buildings and roads. Engineers, Stonemasons and Blacksmiths played a vital role in the legions
  • Hadrians Wall took about 6 years to complete
What was Hadrians Wall made of ?
Hadrians Wall  was constrcted in two parts:
  • The 42 miles of the Eastern section was the first to be built using stone
  • The stone wall had two outer faces of dressed stone and contained a centre of rubble and mortar
  • The 31 miles Western section was initially built using turf - to hasten the completion of the barrier
  • The turf wall was designed to hasten the completion of the barrier - it was built of turf blocks and built on a foundation of cobble stones
  • Many parts of the turf wall were later replaced with stone
What did Hadrians Wall look like ?
Hadrians Wall  was a remarkable example of Roman building and architecture:
  • The wall stretched for 73 miles, was 8 feet wide and 12 feet high!
  • 80 Milecastles were built along the wall
    • Every Roman mile a milecastle was erected
    • A huge fortified gateway which Roman soldiers used to go on patrol to the north of Hadrian’s Wall
    • The Milecastles were also used to control people who passed through the Wall
  • Turrets - At regular intervals between the milecastles turrets were built
    • Turrets were small towers extending above the Wall
    • From the numerous turrets the Roman soldiers could keep watch over the surrounding countryside
  • Forts - 16 Roman forts were built along the wall - these forts could house up to 800 Roman troops and afforded even greater control across the boundary
    • The Roman forts consisted of a Commanders headquarters, houses, hospital, workshops, barracks, granaries, stables and a prison
  • The Forts, Milecastles and Turrets enabled Roman soldiers to watch what was happening along the whole length of the border
  • Ditches - On the north side of the Wall a deep defensive ditch was dug - ensuring that the wall could only be crossed through the Roman controlled Milecastles or Forts
  • Settlements grew up around the forts and trading centres were created
Who manned Hadrians Wall? - The Garrisons
Garrisons were manned with a varying number of Roman Troops stationed at permanently established military posts.
  • The Turrets housed Garrisons of up to 4 troops
  • The Milecastles housed Garrisons of up to 60 troops
  • The Roman Forts housed Garrisons of up to 800 troops
The wall was manned initially by troops from the 2nd, 6th and 20th legions who incorporated men from every corner of the Roman Empire. The job of manning the wall then gradually fell to men who were recruited from the local population. Manning Hadrians Wall was eventually viewed as a good job by the local population and the job of manning the wall was passed from father to son, much as with any other occupations.
The Romans leave Britain - The Ruins of Hadrians WallArchaeological evidence has enabled us to gain an accurate picture of Hadian's Wall and the Romans who built the structure and lived there. The ruins still stand after 2000 years. The wall fell into disrepair following the decline of the Roman Empire when the Romans left Britain in 410 AD. Stones taken from the wall were used to build local buildings and for the construction of great monasteries such as those built at Jarrow, Monkwearmouth and Lindisfarne. After 500 years of occupation the Romans left Britain and the History of the Castle continues with Alfred the Great & the Burhs


  1. the mini china wall ;)..great post

  2. I've walked along there many a time

  3. its awesome, i wish i could visit it

  4. went there once as a kid, was cool.

  5. I actually saw it. Magnificent and impressive.

  6. That font kinda hurts my eyes. GoodPostThough.

  7. beautiful picture :D good job

  8. great picture, great post!

  9. I wish you would change the font, it is hard to read.

    Anyways, I really want to go there.

  10. The font is bad, but the wall is super cool!

  11. nice info looks great

  12. Man... Old stuff blows my mind.

    I bet it sucks to be a rock.