Tyne and Wear HER(4623): Hylton, possible Roman bridge, dam or causeway - Details
Hylton, possible Roman bridge, dam or causeway
There are many references to a possible Roman barrier across the River Wear at Hylton. In around 1713 there were complaints about "ye stones of the old bridge being a nuisence to the river". The Sunderland Echo of May 25th 1881 refers to damage to a River Wear Commissioner's dredger deepening the river bed when it struck a stone block "about five feet square". It also describes a line of stone blocks of similar dimensions stretching across the river and Roman coins being found in this location. Whellan's Directory of 1894 describes the stones discovered by the River Commissioners as "immense blocks of stone, carefully wrought and squared, clamped together with iron clamps, run in with lead, and laid upon a framework of oak timber. At a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1883, a Mr Robinson stated that he had seen a stone causeway on the site when he visited it on April 16th. A Mr Nichol stated that he remembered as a boy crossing the causeway of large blocks of stone clamped together with lead. Mr Robinson and a Mr Hodges said there was no trace of anything Roman on the spot. Some of the stones which formed part of this structure were apparently dumped at the river mouth, some being used in the construction of the North Pier. When the pier was repaired some of these stones were deposited on the beach while others were used as a boundary to support the concrete infill of the pier. Other examples are used to block a car park entrance to the north of the North Pier. The 'brigstones' exhibit Lewis holes (rectangular slots to enable the lifting of the stone) and dove-tail cuts. This does not necessarily identify them as of Roman origin, however, and there still seems doubt over whether the structure from which they supposedly came was a bridge, or a causeway.
<< HER 4623 >> Northern Archaeology Group, 1998, The Hylton Dam and Brig-Stones 1907, The Antiquities of Sunderland, Vol 8, p 56-58 S.T. Miller, 1976, The Trouble with Ferries, Sunderland Polytechnic Bulletin, 19th July 1976, p 22-23. Sunderland Echo, 1881, May 25th 1881 F. Whellan and Co., 1894, History, Topography and Directory of the County Palatine of Durham, p 805 I.V. Innes, South Hylton Church and Village, p 2-7 Records of River Wear Commissioners 1881, -Tyne and Wear Archive Service Deeds respecting the Mnaor of Offerton, p 974-975 Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1883, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, Vol 1, No 4, p 18-20 1910, The Life of Harry Watts, p 222-223 J.E. Morgan, 1999, Is the Lewis Device a measure of Roman practical technology...? submitted work for BA Archaeology at Newcastle University J.E. Morgan, 1999, Roman Construction in Action, at Brigantium submitted work for BA Archaeology at Newcastle University Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 1884, Vol 1, No. 19 Northern Archaeology Group, 1998, Splashing About with the Romans, Newsletter, Vol 1, number 5, 3/11/1998, p 5; Raymond Selkirk, 2001, Chester-le-Street & it's place in history; North East Archaeological Research Ltd. 2012, The Brigstones Site, Hylton, Sunderland - archaeological assessment