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Milecastle 48  - Poltross Burn

known as Poltross Burn Milecastle and Kings Stables

Gilsland, Cumberland

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Milecastle 48,  is one of the best preserved milecastles on Hadrianís Wall. Poltross includes an oven, a stair to the rampart walk, and the remains of its north gateway.


It was known by locals for a long time, and still is by many locals as the  Kings Stables, but since tourism has developed it has been more known by the title Poltross Burn Milecastle. The renaming would appear to have happened so that archaeologists could avoid any link to the legends of King Arthur.


The milecastle is 18.5m by 21.3m and has a roadway through it in the longest dimension, with two barrack blocks, one each side of the roadway. It was built with broad gage defensive walls, including stub walls that suggests it was an early development, before the decision was made to make the wall narrower. It then joins narrow walls.


The stair base and first few steps survive in the south east corner, and someone projected from this that the walk height on the wall would be 3.6 metres and total wall height, including parapet, 4.6metres. The English Heritage board on the site says that it was built by the sixth legion, manned by auxiliary troops and occupied until the 4th century. It was excavated in 1909.


The railway that runs very close to it is the Tyne Valley Line, from Newcastle to Carlisle.



Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham used with permission. Previously on www.visitcumbria.com


The wall at Gilsland Photo by Mike Quinn,
notice the narrow wall built on broad foundations.

The reverse view of this is below, and appears to go to the railway line and the milecastle is just the other side, but at the higher level, so at least a part of the hillside ahead was there before the railway.


Photo by Mike Quinn



Photo above  by Iain Russell


Stairway remains photo by Mike Quinn

Remains on an oven photo by Mike Quinn  


Location: Milecastle 48  - Poltross Burn (Kings Stable), Gilsland, Cumbria

Grid Reference: NY634661 Ceremonial County: Cumberland

Map Link:  OS   Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap   Google 

Getting there: On the edge of Gilsland, see map.

Access: Due to the railway line the modern path along the wall has to take a slight detour at this point to allow the railway to be crossed, so see the map for details. This milecastle is on the east of the railway line.
Other Useful Websites: VC  Wiki   Geograph
Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times: open all the time

Charges: FREE

Nearby Locations: Birdoswald Roman Fort     Milecastle 49  Harrow's Scar

Willowford Bridge     other points on  Hadrian's Wall - Featured Places

Other Location Pages: Hadrian's Wall Route Guide

Other Relevant Pages: Roman Frontiers     Hadrian's Wall  

Hadrian's wall - featured places




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By: Keith Park   Section: Roman Key:
Page Ref: milecastle_48 Topic: Roman Britain Last Updated: 05/2010


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