The Portgate was a fortified gateway, constructed as part of Hadrian's Wall where it crossed the Roman road now known as Dere Street, which preceded Hadrian's Wall by around 50 years. It was built to control traffic along Dere Street as it passed north through Hadrian's Wall. The gate's remains exist beneath the old B6318 Military Road to the south-west of the Stagshaw Roundabout (the B6318 was diverted slightly for the construction of the Stagshaw Roundabout, leaving two short sections of the existing road unlinked – the remains of the Portgate are buried beneath the western section).[1]

The Portgate is located just to the north of the Errington Arms at Stagshaw Roundabout
Northumberland, England, UK
Although the structure of the Portgate is unknown, it is likely to have resembled this reconstruction gateway at Arbeia
Location in Northumberland
Coordinates55.012663°N 2.021612°W / 55.012663; -2.021612
Grid referenceNY98736869

Origins of the name

If any name was given to the structure by the Romans, it is no longer known. The name Portgate is thought to be of Anglo-Saxon origin.


The Portgate was constructed from very large masonry blocks. It projected between 3.06 metres (10.0 ft) and 3.66 metres (12.0 ft) north of the wall, sitting astride the wall. It was probably a square or rectangular structure.[2]

Excavations and investigations

  • 1732 - John Horsley reported visible remains of a fortification at the location, stating[3]

There has been a square castellum, half within the wall and half without. There is a suggestion even today that the ditch of the wall turned northward round such a building.

  • 1955 - English Heritage Field Investigation. It was noted that to the east of Dere Street there is a suggestion that the ditch turned north and followed the road for a short distance, however it is probable that this effect is due to contemporary drainage ditches.
  • 1966 - Excavation directed by Miss D. Charlesworth exposed the west tower of the Portgate in the verge a few inches North of the kerb of the B6318.[4]

Monument Records

MonumentMonument NumberEnglish Heritage Archive Number
Portgate181662NY 96 NE 5


  1. "Portgate". Pastscape. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 26 Aug 2010.
  2. Breeze, David J (1934), Handbook to the Roman Wall (14th Revised edition - Nov 2006), Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, p. 184, ISBN 0-901082-65-1
  3. Horsley, John (1732), Britannia Romana or the Roman Antiquities of Britain, Frank Graham (published 1974), ISBN 0-85983-090-X
  4. The Journal of Roman Studies. London: Society for Promotion of Roman Studies. 57: 177. 1967. Missing or empty |title= (help)


  • Daniels, Charles (1979), "Review: Fact and Theory on Hadrian's Wall", Britannia, 10: 357–364, JSTOR 526069
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