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Housesteads, Northumberland

Historical Description

Housesteads, a station on the Roman wall, in Northumberland, 3 miles N of Bardon Mill railway station, and 5½ NE of Haltwhistle. It is the most remarkable of all the stations, retains extensive and interesting portions of its original Roman work, was visited by a large excursion party from the British Association meeting at Newcastle, in 1863, and is called by Stukely the "Tadmor," by Bruce the " Pompeii," of Britain. In 1883 several altars were found. on the supposed site of a temple, and a bronze purse containing coins of the time of Hadrian. It was the Borcovicus of the Romans, and was garrisoned by the Tungrian cohort. It occupies a lofty ridge, with a wide view on the E, the S, and the W; contains an area of nearly 5 acres, is in the form of a parallelogram, rounded at the comers, and extending from E to W, and has the wall on the N, while the val-lum probably ran along the S. It shows an indication, in projecting beyond the wall's line, of having been constructed prior to the wall; it had natural defences on all sides except the W, and it was defended on that side by a triple line of ramparts. A number of suburban houses have left vestiges exterior to its S side, its own wall on that side still stands ten or twelve courses high, two principal streets traverse its interior, crossing each other at right angles, the W gate retains its strong central gate-post, and has also, in a ruined state, each of its guard-chambers; the intersecting point of the two principal streets retains a large square base of a pillar; and the entire station, besides having yielded numerous interesting relics which have been carried away, exhibits a surprising amount at once of solid masonry, of broken columns, and of fragments of millstones and pottery.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northumberland is available to browse.


Online maps of Housesteads are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers related to Northumberland online: