Hadrian’s Wall, dating from AD 122, extends from Segedunum at Wallsend, across the width of the country to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria. At every mile along the way there was a small fort, a ‘milecastle’, where the soldiers who guarded the Roman Empire resided. Many different accounts of paranormal activity have been reported at these milecastles over the centuries. Milecastle 42 (aka Cawfields Milecastle) is one of these haunted Roman forts. Shocked visitors to the fort ruins have reported seeing an apparition of a man in Roman armor during broad daylight! His specter hovers in the air at the level where Hadrian’s wall used to reach, about 16 feet high.
The ghost has been seen so many times that a backstory has developed explaining his persistent presence. He is known as Lucius, a sentry at Milecastle 42, who made the mistake of falling for a local Briton girl. The girl’s brother would smuggle goods over Hadrian’s Wall in and out of the Empire. She became close to Lucius for the sole purpose of gaining information to help her brother. When the brother’s intrigues were finally discovered he was captured, and then indicated that Lucius was the sentry who was carelessly leaking information to his lover. Lucius then realized that this girl had been using him and committed suicide, dooming his spirit to roam the area forever. You can read about the activity at Milecastle 42 in these books: 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.
Milecastle 42 was built by the Second Augustan Legion on a steep south-facing slope south of of Cawfield Crags. It is on a well preserved section of Hadrian’s Wall.
Flower’s Barrow is an Iron Age hillfort, built over 2500 years ago, above Worbarrow Bay in Dorset on the south coast of England. When the Romans arrived, they took over the ancient fortifications. The area is said to be haunted by a phantom Roman army which has been spotted by multiple witnesses several times over the years. The ghost army was first sighted in December of 1678 and actually appeared to be to be real live soldiers. A local squire with his brother and four workmen were all witness to this spectacle where the Romans marched from Flower’s Barrow over Grange Hill. They could even hear the clamor of the armor as the soldiers walked. Alarmed, the squire roused the locals and about 100 people were able to see the phantom army, which included soldiers and horses. Messengers were sent to nearby Wareham to warn them of an approaching army but of course, it never arrived. The army has also been seen nearby at Bindon Hill and Knowle Hill. This story and more can be found in Haunted England: The Penguin Book of Ghosts by Jennifer Westwood.
Flower’s Barrow has a limited future because the southern part is falling into the sea at Worbarrow Bay due to coastal erosion. Probably more than half of it has already disappeared. The barrow is part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The coastal exposures along the Jurassic coastline provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earth’s history.