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CURTAIN WALL

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  HADRIANS WALL
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Curtain Wall parent record for Hadrian's Wall. See associated monument records for descriptions of individual sections of the Wall. For more on Hadrian's Wall see the overall parent record (Monument No.908267), ditch parent record (No.909625) and vallum parent record (No.909627).

Hadrian's Wall was constructed from AD 122 on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. The curtain wall was built in stone from the east starting on the north side of the river Tyne at Newcastle. The wall was initially built 10 Roman feet wide (the remains of which are termed 'broad wall' ) but after two seasons a decision was made to reduce the width to between 6 and 8 Roman feet wide (termed 'narrow' wall). In many instances 'narrow' wall was built on top of 'broad' wall foundations previously laid. Along large sections, the curtain wall was designed to follow the topography and high points of the land, in other sections the line was surveyed to run straight. Between the river Irthing and the Solway estuary the Wall was first constructed in turf, 20 Roman feet wide. It is believed that this was due to a lack of building stone, and at a later date the Turf Wall was reconstructed in stone. The Wall crossed three major rivers, the North Tyne, the Irthing, and the Eden on substantial bridges, later altered to provide vehicular access.

The wall no longer survives to full height but the tallest remains are at Hare Hill where the core remains 3 metres high. It is now generally regarded that the top of the wall had a wall walk with evidence for a crenellated parapet on the north side. 'Milecastles', small fortlets about 25 metre square, were attached to the rear of the curtain wall at intervals of about one Roman Wall. These included gateways to the north and south. Between each of the milecastles were two turrets, equally spaced, and 6 metres square in plan. Attached, or in close proximity, to the wall were several forts, many of which were added later and replaced milecastles or turrets.

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