Layers of history

SacoHarry
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Joined: August 22nd, 2006, 9:29 pm

April 20th, 2009, 1:43 am #1

At the turn of the 19th Century, within a couple hundred meters of the now-visible fort, there were no less than 5 tenant crofts -- Wellmeadow Close, Archy's Flat, Codley Gate, High Foggrigg, and Smiths Chesters -- plus the ruins of a mill down in the valley.

Of all those, the only one to survive today is Codley Gate (which is now a working farm and a self-catering accommodation). Wellmeadow Close lay under the modern visitor's center; Smiths Chesters was right outside the military bath house and has been completely removed; Archy's Flat's foundations lay buried in the fields to the north of the Stanegate; High Foggrigg was in the valley downstream of Vindolanda, now reclaimed by nature. And that ruined mill? You might know the site -- it's now home to Chesterholm, Vindolanda's museum, built 1831.

In the Middle Ages, the Borders had been wild & dangerous. But when the Union of the Crowns brought peace, tenant farmers moved in. They exhausted themselves clearing & improving the land -- removing centuries of scrub and brush. Many generations tried their best to make a living from the land. Of course, their efforts also caused destruction to much of Vindolanda's remains. Ironically, it was this destruction that galvanized the historians of the time to try to protect what was left. People like Anthony Hedley and John Clayton bought up huge swaths of the countryside, saving the ancient stones while sealing the fate of dozens -- or hundreds? -- of similar crofts across the whole Wall frontier.
Last edited by SacoHarry on April 20th, 2009, 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Badger
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Badger
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Joined: May 12th, 2008, 1:10 pm

April 20th, 2009, 3:11 am #2

I have on occasion walked, via public footpath, from Vindolanda diagonally back across fields to the Once/Twice Brewed. There are a couple of ruined stone buildings along the way. I'm sure at least one is a decrepit croft, the other could have been some kind of outbuilding.

Tim Wolter
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Mike McGuire
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Joined: May 14th, 2010, 7:41 pm

April 15th, 2012, 4:43 pm #3

Nowadays, the name High Fogrigg (High Fogridge on Google :$ ) applies to the large house about 250 metres to the SW of Vindolanda. But there are ruins down in the valley bottom to the east which may well be the original site.

Badger, I think one of the ruined buildings you passed will be Cockton, after which the Cockton Burn is named. Another farm that's gone, although it's just outside Harry's 500m radius.

Mike
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