Many of the stones used in the building have evidently been brought from the great Wall, or probably from the Roman station of Borcovicus, some six or seven miles to the north; and what a rush of bewildering fancies crowds upon one's mind on first discovering that the font was originally a Roman altar!
A considerable number of people dwelt outside the walls of this, as of all the stations, sheltering under its walls, and relying on the protection of its garrison; the slope to the southward of Borcovicus shows many traces of buildings scattered all over it.
It lies by the side of the main road to Bardon Mill, which is the most convenient station for travellers to alight at who wish to visit the Roman Wall and the Roman city of Borcovicus, and the Northumberland lakes.
The remains of the station at Procolitia are by no means to be compared with those at Borcovicus or Cilurnum; very few of its stones are yet remaining. The well was the most interesting find at Procolitia. It was known to be there, for Horsley had mentioned it; but the waters which supplied it were diverted in consequence of some lead-mining operations.
We must content ourselves with a short survey of the camp, with its two wide streets at right angles to each other as at Borcovicus, and the rest of them very narrow indeed, little more than two feet in width; the remains of its Forum and market, its barracks and houses, its open shops and colonnades, the bases of the pillars yet in position; its baths, with pipes, cistern, and flues; and a vaulted chamber which was thought, on its being first excavated, to lead to underground stables, for a local tradition held that such were in existence, and would be found, with a troop of five hundred horses.
We explored the ruins of Borcovicus, walked along the broad and broken top of the Wall, and climbed up hill and down dale with it under the pleasantest conditions, if a trifle breezy on the heights.
The general plan is the same as that which we have already seen at Borcovicus, with the same rounded corners, and double gateway with guard-chambers at each side; the western and eastern walls at Chesters, however, have each an additional single gateway to the south of the larger portals.
On this portion of the wall is situated the large Roman station of Borcovicus, from which we have gained a great deal of our information as to what the life of the garrisons on this lonely outpost of Empire was like. The station is situated on hilly ground, which slopes gently to the south, and is nearly five acres in extent.