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Milecastle 42, Hadrian’s Wall

The construction of Hadrian's Wall began in AD122. It measured 73 miles and ran from Segedunum at Wallsend, across the width of the country to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria. Each mile there was a gateway through the wall which could be found at a milecastle, which was effectively a small fortlet and equally spaced between each milescastle were two turrets.

Cawfields Milecastle (Milecastle 42) is thought to have been built by the Roman Legio Secunda Augusta (Legio II Augusta, Second Augustan Legion) and is reputedly haunted. There are a few books which refer to Milecastle 42 being haunted by a Roman Legionaire. These include ‘They Still Serve: A Complete Guide to the Military Ghosts of Britain’ by Richard McKenzie, 'Ghost Trails of Northumbria' by Clive Kristen and 'Haunted Northumberland' by Darren W Ritson.

The figure is described as being in Roman armour and is thought to have been seen during daylight hours, hovering in the air at the height of the Roman Wall, which in some places could have been 5 – 6 meters high.

I don’t know of any actual accounts of the ghost being witnessed, but there seems to be a story attached to it. Sometimes referred to as Lucius, the Roman soldier was a sentry based at Milecastle 42 and in love with a native Briton. Apparently her brother would smuggle goods across the wall in and out of the Roman Empire and she had gotten close to Lucius to feed her brother information about sentry patrols etc. When the brother was captured he implicated Lucius, who, realising his girl had been using him, committed suicide. Given that this must have been 2000 years ago, I have no idea where this story came from.

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