Denton Hall Turret
Building In Denton Burn, Tyne And Wear
Turret 7B on Hadrian's Wall, found along with a 63m long section of the wall in a small area of public space in a housing estate by the A186
In a small area of public space, in a suburb to the west of Newcastle city centre, adjacent to the A186, you can find a 63m long stretch of Hadrian's Wall along with Denton Hall Turret. Also known as Turret 7B after a numbering system devised in 1930 to denote the turrets from east to west, they were found two to every Roman mile (1.48km) between Milecastles, and the number is based on the Milecastle to their east and the letter depending on which of the pair they were.
Denton Hall Turret was built as part of Hadrian's Wall which was begun in 122AD and was designed to be a continuous, 80 Roman mile long boundary to the northern edge of their Empire. Around 160 turrets were built along the wall and they were used as vantage points to monitor the movement of people to the north. It is thought that not all of the turrets would have been permanently occupied although numerous domestic items have been found in them, which suggests some occupation must have occurred.
Denton Hall Turret has the simple design common to most turrets, namely a rectangular ground floor (around 3.96 x 4.2m internally) with a doorway for access in the south wall. There would be a wooden staircase to a first floor, which provided further space for soldiers along with an access to the sentry walk along the rear of Hadrian's Wall. Some turrets had a second floor and above this (or the first floor if there was only one storey) there would be an open platform with parapet or a pitched roof to shed water.
The section of Hadrian's Wall in which the turret is found is part of the stretch at the eastern end constructed at the width of 10 Roman feet (2.96m). As the wall progressed west the width reduced to 8 Roman feet (2.37m) or even 6 Roman feet (1.78m), this is thought to have been to speed up the build and reduce costs.
It is known that the three Roman Legions based in Britain built Hadrian's Wall and they probably did this on a rotation basis with some covering military duties while the rest worked on the wall. Each cohort worked on specific sections of the wall and in 1869 a stone was found at Denton Hall which had the following Latin inscription on it; "L II AVG CHO VIII FEC”.
This is an abbreviation and the full Latin meaning is “LEGIONIS II AUGUSTAE COHORS I FECIT” which translates to “The first cohort of the Second Legion Augusta built”.
The turret was excavated in 1929 and it was discovered that there had been 3 major phases of rearrangement of the ground floor, stretching from its initial build through to the middle of the 4th century. Each time the floor was raised significantly and finds showed that there was evidence of hearths for cooking and heating. Other finds included broken pottery, two stone bowls and an iron spearhead.
How To Find Denton Hall Turret
Contributed by Andrew Gardner
I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.More Places from Andrew
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