button to main menu  Gents Mag 1851 part 2 p.505

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Gentleman's Magazine 1851 part 2 p.505
changing and interesting views, and we returned eastward from the "Twice Brewed," a considerable distance, in order to secure an examination of the portion we had divaricated from in visiting Vindolanda. Crag after crag, rough and precipitous, acclivities steep and apparently insurmountable, are all traversed equally. In no stage of difficulty or danger did the Roman soldiers turn aside from their task, and up steep hills, which we had some difficulty to climb, the wall is as carefully and firmly built as upon level ground; the materials nowhere differ; the whin rock, or stone of the hills, is used only for the body of the work, the facing stones are as neatly cut as usual, and brought as usual from distant quarries. Passing Milking-gap, a mile-castle called Castle-nick, Peel-crag, Winshields-crag (the highest spot between the two seas), and Bloody-gap, we rested at a small farm-house at Shield-on-the-wall. On the south, near the modern military road, are two large stones, probably the remains of a circle, called "the mare and foal." At Bogle-hole, the vallum is seen inclining towards the wall to assist in defending the pass. This is one of the many similar adaptations noticed by Mr. Bruce, in support of his opinion as to the unity and contemporaneous origin of the fortifications. The wall has its traditions, and spirits are still supposed to haunt the neighbourhood of Bogle-hole. In our walk we were told of the hunter's dogs turning back from the pursuit of animals which were something more than what they seemed to be, and of a man who attempted to fly from a high crag and was killed. Our informant did not attribute his fall to any defect in the provision he had made for his flight, but solely from his having neglected to make an offering of barley-cake to the rocks. Surely there lingers in this story a vestige of the old belief which assigned to every mountain its guardian divinity, and to rivers, woods, and fields, their gods and goddesses.
The mile-castle (castellum) near Caw-fields is the best preserved along the line of the wall, and has been cleared of the accumulated earth by order of its owner, Mr. Clayton. It is situated on a gentle slope, the great wall forming its northern boundary. It has two entrances, of great strength, and with double doors, opposite to each other on the north and south, without any postern gate. The walls are from nine to upwards of ten feet thick, and are rounded off on the south. Previous to the excavation of this mile-castle it was doubtful whether there were openings from them through the wall. On this point much has yet to be determined. In this castellum was found a fragmentary inscription referring to Hadrian and the second legion, and, I believe, the sepulchral stone of the Pannonian soldier, of a much later date, previously mentioned as preserved at Chesters. Near it an altar dedicated to Apollo was discovered in the summer of last year.
AEsica, the tenth great station, now called Great Chesters, may justly be said to be buried in its own ruins, and, like many of the others, has never been investigated. Accident has brought to light, very recently, a large slab, bearing a dedication to Hadrian, and, many years since, an inscription mentioning the rebuilding of a granary by a cohort of the Astures, in the reign of Alexander Severus. It affords one of many similar proofs of the permanent residence of particular bodies of troops at fixed stations, the Astures being located at AEsica, according to the Notitia, nearly 200 years after the date of this monument. The description of the watercourse which supplies AEsica with water, and its long circuitous route, forms one of the many striking features in Mr, Bruce's volume. It is six miles in length.
Beyond AEsica a second mountain ridge is entered upon. The defiles, gaps, and crags, are as remarkable as those before alluded to, and the Nine Nicks of Thirlwall are perhaps even more precipitous, broken, and wildly picturesque. The wall too is here seen in larger and more continuous masses, and the external facing stones are preserved in many places to the extent of ten and twelve courses.
Magna, now Carvoran, lies about 250 yards to the south of the wall and vallum near the village of Greenhead. The site is elevated ground, evidently chosen to avoid a swampy flat near the wall. The area, about four acres and a half, is entirely cultivated. In the garden of the farm-
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