Land West of Steele’s Bank, Wetheral

Land West of Steele’s Bank, Wetheral, Carlisle, Cumbria: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment and Geophysical Survey

Greenlane Archaeology was commissioned to carry out a desk-based assessment and geophysical survey on land west of Steele’s Bank, Wetheral. Wetheral is at least medieval in origin. The priory there was established c1100, but Wetheral is seemingly recorded earlier as being on the boundary of the diocese of Hexham, which did not exist after the 9th century and a fragment of Anglian cross has been found in the churchyard. Early references to a group of artificial caves known as Constantine’s Cells and a holy well dedicated to St Cuthbert might also indicate early medieval presence in the area. Roman inscriptions near these caves probably also indicate a Roman military presence in the area, the hinterland of Hadrian’s Wall and Carlisle. However, the village saw relatively little development until the post-medieval period, following the Dissolution and after the coming of the Newcastle-Carlisle railway.

The geophysical survey revealed numerous dipolar anomalies and a large area of magnetic disturbance along the east side of the southern edge of the site, probably resulting from modern activity, and areas of ridge and furrow across much of the site. In addition, it revealed a linear feature, apparently comprising two parallel lines broadly parallel to the present road along the east side, and a large area of more amorphous linear anomalies across the whole of the northern half of the site. The nature and date of all of these features is uncertain.

The full report will be made available on the Archaeology Data Service website.