|The Wreken Dyke
A Roman Road in County Durham
"The Arm of Orion" ©
Ground breaking new research into the esoteric purpose of
Roman Roads in Great Britain
by Audrey Fletcher
|Map 1: The Wreken Dyke, highlighted, as it passes through Wrekenton
on its way from the Roman Fort, Arbeia, at South Shields.
The words highlighted are "Wreken Dike".
1862 Map Courtesy of www.oldmaps.co.uk
Wrekenton: the Meeting Place
In the early 1800s the newly created village of Wrekenton, which lies to the south of Gateshead,
was named after the Wreken Dyke which marked the southern boundary of the Gateshead Fell
Parish. Prior to the creation of the new village in 1822 when Gateshead Fell was enclosed and
divided up, there were only a few buildings: a house called Red Robins, some cottages called St
Helena Row and a public house named "The Seven Stars".
|Wrekenton Row and the Seven Stars Inn at Wrekenton
built of sandstone from the local quarry.
Photos courtesy of isee.gateshead.gov.uk
The presence of the pub suggests that it was a coaching stop, well situated to serve passengers
and horses travelling along the Roman Road, called The Old Durham Road, from Chester-le-Street
to Newcastle (and vice versa).
The Old Durham Road through Birtley (the A6127) went up The Long Bank, (B1296). The A6217
and the B1296 were originally connected and were the same road. It was, and still is, quite a haul
up The Long Bank!
The Old Durham Road is highlighted in orange on Map 2.
The name "Long Bank" is highlighted in bright yellow on Map 2.
The inn was also well situated to serve travellers from South Shields who came along the Wreken
Dyke, later named Leam Lane (B1288). It was a convenient "meeting of the ways". Another public
house, the Coach and Horses, was built to serve the locals and, as it name suggests, travellers
passing through. There was another inn of the same name at the bottom of the Long Bank. The
mode of long distance travel (e.g. Newcastle to London) changed in the 1840s with the
construction of the railways but the local roads were still well used.
|The Coach and Horses Inn at Wrekenton
Photo courtesy of isee.gateshead.gov.uk
The alignment of the Wreken Dyke is of no doubt ancient origin, very possibly pre-Roman, leading
as it does from the entrance of the River Tyne at South Shields to the strategically placed high
country at Wrekenton and Eighton Banks. The landscape here was ideal for defence, lookouts and
beacon stations. The well known Beacon Lough is just along the Great North Road from
Beacon Lough is situated between Wrekenton and Windy Nook. As its name suggests, Beacon
Lough was used as a beacon signalling station in Celtic times, it being part of a network
throughout Celtic Britain. In addition to the beacon, there was also a Stone Circle at Beacon
Lough, which would confirm a Celtic rather than a Roman origin of the signalling station. (In places
where a stone circle had not been erected a clearing within a wood of oaks would have served the
same purpose for the Celts. This clearing was called a “leah”, a name which is retained in place
names like Birtley (bright leah), which is only a short distance from Wrekenton as well.)
The Wreken Dyke, highlighted in purple on Maps 1 and 2, divides Wrekenton from Eighton Banks,
where my Dad was born in Sandy Lane. It is an ancient earthwork, a causeway, used by the
Romans to construct a road leading from the Arbeia Fort at South Shields. This ancient earthwork
is still clearly visible at Wrekenton today.
Arbeia, is usually translated as "the place of the Arabs", as in Arabia. An alternative meaning which
I would suggest is "trees by the water" or "trees by the river" ... "arbor - arboris" being Latin for
"tree" and "ea" being Sumerian for "water" ("eau" in French).
Arbeia was built about AD128, on high ground called The Lawe overlooking the mouth of the River
Tyne, at what is now South Shields. It served as a supply base of imported goods for inland forts
and settlements (for example: Lanchester) as well as for forts and settlements along Hadrian's
Wall. In addition it would have been the entry and exit port for Roman troops in the North-East of
England. Arbeia could therefore be considered as an important commercial centre. Stones which
were hewn in Roman times were reclaimed from old local churches and used in the reconstruction
of the gate at Arbeia.
|The reconstructed Gateway of the Roman
Arbeia Fort at South Shields
Photo courtesy of Audrey Fletcher
28 June 2014
|Arbeia Roman Fort at South Shields with the
reconstructed Headquarters in the background
Photo courtesy of Audrey Fletcher
28 June 2014
The Structure of the Wreken Dyke
The structure of the Wreken Dyke has been examined at two locations.
Location One, to the east of Long Bank and north of Ravensworth Avenue, is highlighted in green
on the next map.
This section of Wreken Dike has been described as 19 feet wide with a foundation layer of large
stones and an upper layer of small sandstones. There was no mention of a middle layer of gravel.
Nevertheless, the road was well cambered and had sandstone blocks used as kerbs. It was also
noted that the road was heavily worn in the centre. This description suggests a substantial and
frequently used road.
Location Two: the structure of the Wreken Dyke near High Eighton was investigated. The site was
located between High Eighton highlighted in amber on the next map and the wagonway to its
It was found to be 17.5 feet wide and built in three layers of 6-inch and 8-inch sandstone blocks.
There were also kerbs, but there was no longer any trace of the small surface metalling.
This structure does not follow the recognized engineering of a Roman Road ... which would
include a substructure of stones and gravel topped by paving stones. It is clear however that near
High Eighton good use was being made of the sandstone which was quarried locally and was in
|This is an example of how a traditional Roman Road was constructed.
Original artist unknown
At the Bottom of the Long Bank
A short distance further south, near the Coach and Horses Inn, where the Roman Road was
crossing Leyburnhold Gill, the major earthworks of the Old Durham Road were different to those of
the Wreken Dyke. They were more traditionally Roman.
Leyburnhold Gill is highlighted in pink on the map below.
Next to Leyburnhold Gill, the Coach and Horses is highlighted in blue on the next map.
|"A partly artificial causeway beside Leyburnhold Gill, in field 333a, was revealed when
a section was cut. It was thirty yards long, standing 15 ft. above the Gill and dropping
to 10ft at the crossing point. Large metalling can be seen and probed at many places
on this causeway. The road was 26ft wide, cambered and possessed side-kerbs. The
built-up causeway shows there must have been a small bridge across the Gill. The field
south of the Gill now stands at a much higher level than the causeway as ploughing
has worked several feet of soil onto the road." Arch Ael 4th series 17 1940 54-64 illust (R
"30m of raised causeway, 4.7m wide and 0.7m high at north end. Metalling on both
sides at various places." Field Investigators Comments F1 JHO 02-JAN-54
NZ 271570. The Roman road approaches from the south on a causeway 90ft long, 26ft
wide, of large metalling, and stops abruptly 10ft above the Leyburnhold Gill stream. On
the north are two mounds, both of which could have been abutments (probably at
different dates) to take the road north and north-north-west." General reference Arch J
118 1961 160 (D P Dymond) and General reference Monuments threatened or destroyed - a
The width of the causeway of the Wreken Dyke (17.5 feet wide), in contrast to that of the Old
Durham Road (26 feet wide), suggests that the latter did indeed carry more traffic and was an
important arterial road. The Wreken Dike could be considered as a secondary road.
The Old Durham Road was a section of the Roman Great North Road stretching from London to
York (Ermine Street 193 miles), and then on up to Durham, Chester-le-Street, Wrekenton,
Gateshead and Newcastle.
When the Romans built their roads on causeways it was primarily for drainage purposes. In the
pouring rain of the cold North East the excess water needed to flow straight off the road so that
the foot and chariot traffic could continue in relative safety. The conditions on the Long Bank in
the snow would have been treacherous.
The route from Chester-le-Street to Gateshead on the Old Durham Road (Roman) in the sixteenth
century was described as “seven miles by mountainous ground, with pasture, heath, moor and
firres “. In the early 1800s Gateshead Fell was described as “a wild, spongy, dark moor.”
Map 2: Shows the Roman Roads:
Wreken Dike and Old Durham Road 1921
The Wreken Dyke is highlighted in
The name "Wreken Dike" is highlighted
The name Corn Pit Engine House is
highlighted in turquoise
The Old Durham Road is highlighted in
The name "Long Bank" is highlighted in
Leyburnhold Gill is highlighted in pink
Next to Leyburnhold Gill, the Coach and
Horses is highlighted in blue
High Eighton is highlighted in amber
|Map 2 The Wreken Dike and Old Durham Road in 1921
On the above map the Wreken Dyke would appear to end at the site of the Corn Pit Engine House
... which is very near to the site of the "Angel of the North" today.
Unusually, the Wreken Dyke takes a sharp turn at High Eighton and then another one a few
hundred yards later. This was not logical in Roman times. Either the map has been misread or
there was a structure, possibly a major building or buildings, which had to be circumnavigated.
The following 1862 map shows that these virtually 90 degree bends in the road were in fact part of
the Wreken Dike. The name "High Eighton" is highlighted in turquoise, as are the words "Wreken
Dike" in the bottom left-hand corner.
|The Angel of the North
Photo courtesy of Audrey Fletcher 31 July 2013
During an excavation in 1938-9 the causeway/bridge was discovered to be 26 feet wide, with a
cambered mound of gravel, 18 inches thick at the centre. This mound of gravel was placed directly
upon the sandy subsoil without any base, which suggests that an engineered base was not
considered to be a necessity and that the sandy subsoil was considered sufficiently firm.
Sandstone blocks had been laid upon the gravel for 6 feet on the west side and 2 feet on the east
to act as kerbs. This would indicate a lot of foot traffic.
|The Coach and Horses
Photograph courtesy of Audrey Fletcher 01 August 2013
|Map 3: This 1862 map shows that these virtually 90 degree bends
in the road were in fact part of the Wreken Dike.
Map courtesy of www.oldmaps.co.uk
On Map 1 "Wreken Dike" is named next to The Camp Ground.
On Map 2 "Wreken Dike" is named next to the section of the Old Durham Road called The Long Bank.
On Map 3 "Wreken Dike" is named next to the Corn Pit Engine House.
Moreover, excavation of the "Wreken Dike" has occurred near to High Eighton.
According to the evidence, the only course for the "Wreken Dike" is to turn sharp left at High Eighton and
then sharp right towards the Corn Pit Engine House.
Therefore, as the map has not been misread I can only suggest that there was indeed a structure,
probably a building or buildings, which had to have been gone round.
I am suggesting "Site A" in the map below as my first choice for a Roman settlement, and "Site B" as my
|Map 4: The Wreken Dike, highlighted in
purple, runs through Wrekenton then
makes ninety degree turns.
|"Site A" is my first preference for a Roman
settlement or structure of some description.
"Site B" is my second preference.
Unfortunately the time for excavating Site A for Roman buildings has long passed, since the area
has now been built upon. Site B however is a different story as it is a Golf Course. My
Grandparents lived opposite the Golf Course in the 1960s at 8 Western View. My Grandad acquired
quite a collection of golf balls. Sadly he never mentioned the Romans or the Wreken Dyke and
neither did my parents, despite the fact that they lived at Eighton Banks.
Site A, my first choice for a Roman Settlement, has been built upon.
Site B is a Golf Course which also extends to the north of the Wreken Dike. The end of the Wreken
Dyke is very close to the site of the Angel of the North.
|Intellectual Property of Audrey Fletcher
|This photo of the Angel of the North was taken from Shadens Hill
on the outskirts of Eighton Banks, and about a mile and a half south of
Wrekenton. It serves to show the strategic position of the high country
around the Wrekenton / Eighton Banks area.
Photo courtesy of my brother Alan Hall.
|This is Springfield Avenue, indicated in green on
the “Site A and Site B” aerial image above.
The photo shows how the land falls away down to the Long Bank,
which is at the T-Junction at the bottom of the lane.
Photo courtesy of my brother Alan Hall.
Early Commentaries about the Wreken Dike
|"The Recken Dyke, or Wreken Dyke - so called in North Durham - is supposed to be the
north-eastern portion of the Rycknild Street, described in Drayton's "Polyolbion", as
well as by Ralph Higden, as stretching obliquely quite across the island, from St.
David's (Menapia), the most westerly point of South Wales, "to the fall of Tyne into the
Horsley, who was reckoned in his day "the prince of antiquaries", says:- "It seems to
have come from the station (at South Shields), and to have crossed the marsh, then
possibly a branch of the river, not far from the station. Thence it has passed most
probably through, or a little to the east of, a house called Lay gate; from thence it
seems to have gone near a house called the Barns, the garden wall probably standing
on it; and so on to the Draw Bridge close by Jarrow Slike. For this space, the traces of
this way are very obscure and uncertain. In the field beyond this bridge, the track of it
is plain, and for near the full breadth of the enclosure sensibly raised above the level of
the rest of the ground, though it runs cross the ridges. On the west side of this field or
enclosure there is a small descent,and in the bottom a lane, which is the highway
leading from Bowden to Shields, and a small ascent on the other side in the field
joining this lane. As the military way descends on the one side and ascends on the
other, it is bent into a curve, and then falls into the right line, in which it seems to be
continued all the way to Gateshead Fell, for the space of five or six miles; from thence it
goes towards Lamesley and Kibblesworth, which it leaves a little to the south.
It was very visible all the way, not many years ago, before Sir Henry Liddle inclosed
and improved these grounds; and the gardener at Cousin's House, who had formerly
wrought on Gateshead Fell, assured me he had seen and helped to dig up some
stones out of Wreken Dyke, which he called Bracken Dyke, so that he was altogether
of the opinion that this part of it had been paved. This way passes on towards
Beamish, and I make no doubt has gone forward to Lanchester. It is indeed lost on the
moor beyond Beamish; nor is it any great wonder that it should be so, considering
how soft and mossy it is ..."
William Brockie in 1889
|Map 5: The Wreken Dyke ... South Shields to Wrekenton to Beamish Hall,
referred to by William Brockie above, is clearly shown on this 1840 map by Archer.
The Wreken Dike then continues SSW to Lanchester (Longouicio).
"C" indicates the location of Chester-le-Street.
The map is crying out for Roman Stations to be located at
Barmston Ford "B" and Monk Wearmouth "M"
WREKENTON: a Roman Settlement at the Crossroads.
The Old Durham Road is the Roman Road which ran in a northerly direction from Durham to
Chester-le-Street, then through Birtley (the A6127) and up The Long Bank, (B1296) to Wrekenton,
Chester-le-Street, then through Birtley (the A6127) and up The Long Bank, (B1296) to Wrekenton,
where, after the long climb, it continued on to Gateshead and Newcastle. The A6217 and the
B1296 were originally connected and were the same road.
The Old Durham Road is highlighted in orange on Map 2 above.
The name "Long Bank" is highlighted in bright yellow on Map 2 above.
At Wrekenton there was another Roman Road, the Wreken Dike, which branched off in a north-
easterly direction to the Roman Fort at Arbeia, now called South Shields, at the mouth of the River
Tyne. However, as recorded by William Brockie and as shown in the above map, the Wreken Dike
did not stop at Wrekenton, rather it continued on to at least Beamish. The Wreken Dike and the
Old Durham Road formed a crossroads at Wrekenton.
I referred to this junction earlier as "a meeting of the ways". Wrekenton would lie approximately
half-way between Chester-le-Street, in Roman times known as Concangios, and Arbeia. It also lay
approximately half way between Beamish (Roman name not known) and Arbeia.
Whether travelling from Concangios (Chester-le-Street), Arbeia (South Shields), Newcastle (Pons
Aelius) or Beamish, Wrekenton would have been a welcome refreshment or overnight stop ... as it
has been for hundreds of years.
Imagine back in Roman times climbing up the Long Bank on foot, horse or chariot, in the bleak
wintery weather. Imagine trying to keep a foothold in the driving rain or snow. Imagine the slush
or the black ice on the road and trying to keep warm in the bitterly cold conditions. Imagine that
biting north-easterly wind cutting through to the very bones. (I remember one winter’s morning
about ten years or so ago, standing at the bus stop at The Galleries, stamping my feet and
thinking, "By, it's caald." It was on the television that evening that it had been minus ten degrees!)
Imagine being marooned at Wrekenton due to the snow drifts. (My Mam often recalls the snowfall
in 1939 at Eighton Banks ... six foot deep. They opened the back door to a wall of snow. Life came
to a standstill except for the men out clearing the roads.) In the warmer weather, yes it does
happen sometimes, the travellers would have been thirsty and tired.
It is only logical that there had to have been somewhere to stay at Wrekenton, both for the horses
and the people. This meant stables, accommodation, stable hands, servants, cooks and so on.
For the amount of traffic passing through, Wrekenton would have been an important refreshment
and/or overnight stop. Moreover, because of the strategic postion of Wrekenton on an elevated
plateau, which was ideal for defence, lookouts and beacon stations, there was most probably a
military barracks there as well.
|Wrekenton's strategic position
on an elevated plateau overlooking the valley,
and at the confluence of two main roads, lends itself
to the positioning and building of
a Roman fort and settlement.
|This commanding view across the valley was taken from Shadens Hill,
just along the road from Wrekenton.
Photo courtesy of my brother Alan Hall.
the site of the previously unidentified Roman Station
In the "Notitia Dignitatum" of the 4th/5th century, Concangios (Chester-le-Street) is listed as being
situated between Lavatris (Bowes, Durham) and an as yet unidentified Dictium.
Also in the Notitia Dignitatum of the 4th/5th century, the as yet unidentified Dictium lies between
Concangios (Chester-le-Street) and Arbeia (South Shields).
There is only one possible site which fits these two descriptions ... by the crossroads at
Wrekenton, the meeting of the ways, a meeting place.
Moreover, Wrekenton's strategic position on an elevated plateau overlooking the valley, and at the
confluence of two main roads, lends itself to the positioning and building of a Roman fort and
The Roman place name of "Dictium" has its stem in the Latin verb "dico - dicere" which means "I
speak - to speak". Our words "diction" and "dictation", for example, are of Latin derivation from
the verb "dicere".
The place name "Dictium" could therefore be translated as "Meeting Place", a place where not
only the roads met but also a place where people met, talked, exchanged views and information
while having a well earned rest stop on their journey.
Similarly the name Canberra (in ACT Australia) means "Meeting Place" in the local Ngunnawal
Aboriginal language. Canberra is the site of Government in Australia, where Parliament meets and
politicians talk ... The word "Canberra" is the Aboriginal equivalent of the Roman word "Dictium".
Considered in this light it now becomes apparent that the "Dike" part of the name "Wreken Dike" is
in all probability a reference back to the fort and settlement of Dictium, lost in the mists of Time.
Perhaps it is merely coincidence that the Anglo-Saxon word "dic" meaning "ditch" dike" or
"causeway" is also applicable to the name "Wreken Dike".
Having said that however, it is very possible, though highly unlikely, that the Anglo-Saxons
inherited the word "dic" meaning "ditch" dike" or "causeway" from the Romans and their
structure of the Wreken Dike.
I would suggest that the Wreken Dike was originally referred to as "Via Dictium" meaning "The
Road that leads to Dictium".
Similarly today we have, for example, "Fatfield Road", the road which leads to Fatfield.
I would further suggest that "Via Dictium" was later shortened to "Via Dic" and then in
Anglo-Saxon times to "The Dic", and finally to "The Dike" in more modern times.
|Aerial view to show Wrekenton as the site of
the Roman settlement of "Dictium",
and also the Wreken Dike as "Via Dictium".
|"The Garrison Unit(s) of Dictium. The Dictium Entry in the Notitia Dignitatum Praefectus
numeri Nerviorum Dictensium, Dicti "The prefect of the Company of Dictian Nervii at
Dictis" (Notitia Dignitatum xl.23; 4th/5th C.) Listed among the regiments "at the
disposal of the Right Honourable Duke of the Britains", the Numerus Nerviorum
Dictensium were an irregular company of soldiers (a numerus), very likely comprised
entirely of cavalry troopers or at least part-mounted, originally recruited from among
the Nervii tribe of Belgic Gaul, this much is obvious from their name, which also implies
that they had been stationed at the Dictium station for a considerable period, at least
sufficient for the unit to become synonymous with their garrison station."
|Roman Roads in County Durham
form the Constellation of Orion
Modern maps of Roman Roads in England tend to show the Wreken Dyke as terminating at
Wrekenton. A logical reason for this is that the Wreken Dyke beyond Wrekenton is no longer
clearly visible and as a result is becoming among the forgotten roads of our Roman past. The map
below is an example of this.
Nevertheless this map serves to illustrate MY OWN discovery of major importance about the main
Roman Roads in County Durham.
I have discovered that the Constellation of Orion is clearly outlined in County Durham on the map
below. The Wreken Dike is the Arm of Orion.
(I would point out at this stage that for many years, as well as having a keen interest in the local area in and
around Washington and Eighton Banks, I also have a keen interest in astronomy. You can view my major
work "Ancient Egyptians and the Constellations" (1999) at http://ancientegypt.hypermart.net )
|Star Map 1: The Constellation of Orion
|Map 6: The Constellation of Orion is clearly outlined
in broken red lines in County Durham. Side view.
The Wreken Dike (A194) is the Arm of Orion.
|Let us compare Map 6 with Star Map 1 above, by superimposing the diagram of the Constellation
of Orion upon the Map of Durham:
Betelgeuse = Ebchester Bellatrix = Wrekenton
W = Gateshead / Newcastle X = South Shields
Y = Blyth Z = Sunderland
D = Durham City Rigel = Nr Sadberge P = Piercebridge
Following the A690, the red dotted line in the above map:
Right-hand star of Orion's Belt = Durham
Middle star of Orion's Belt = Brancepeth
Left-hand star of Orion's Belt = The bend in the road to the right of Willington
Orion's Sword = Roman Road A688: Bishop Auckland (Binchester) to Bowes on Map 6 above.
Note: Orion's Sword, can be more intimately interpreted as a male body part.
Orion's right arm or Orion's Club, which form a "V" shape, are represented by Dere Street NW of
Ebchester on the A56 and the fine red dotted line of the "Other Roman Road" which leads to
Orion's left arm is the Wreken Dike, the A194.
Binchester is north of Piercebridge on Dere Street, the B6275, and the site of the bend in the road
of the A690, to the right of Willington, is north of Binchester on what would have been Dere Street.
When we follow the Roman Roads on the above Map 6 down into Yorkshire on Map 7 below, we
discover that, unlike the constellation, Orion has legs. In fact he looks very much like the
mummified Ancient Egyptian God, Osiris. Orion and Osiris are as One.
The Ancient Egyptians believed that following upon sacred ritual the mummified Pharoah was
deified, becoming the God Osiris who resided in the heavens as the Constellation of Orion.
I would suggest that the Heel of Osiris is formed by Wetherby and Collingham, while the
Big Toe of Osiris is represented by Skipton.
|Map 7: The broken red lines indicating "Dere Street" and "Other Roman Roads"
outline a headless male body which closely resembles that of
the mummified Ancient Egyptian God: Osiris.
That he is headless is significant to Ancient Celts, as the severed head was
an important aspect both of their mythology and culture.
Notice how the "flail" forms the "Bow of Orion" shown in Star Map 1 above.
The rod or handle of the flail can be interpreted as forming the Wreken Dike (A194)
while the beaded strands of the flail
can be interpreted as forming part of the coastline of Durham and Northumberland.
(Artist of map is unknown)
The broken red lines indicating "Dere Street" and "Other Roman Roads" outline a headless male
body which closely resembles that of the mummified Ancient Egyptian God: Osiris.
That he is headless is significant to Ancient Celts, as the severed head was an important aspect
both of their mythology and culture.
Notice also how the "flail" forms the "Bow of Orion". The rod or handle can be interpreted as
forming the Wreken Dike while the beaded strands can be interpreted as forming part of the
coastline of Durham and Northumberland.
On Map 7 above, the Roman Road heading in a north easterly direction from Hadrian's Wall on
Dere Street, and up beyond Morpeth, leads to Alnwick. In following the coast road back down to
North Shields a shape not unlike the White Crown of Ancient Egypt is formed. This same White
Crown is displayed being worn by the mummified Osiris in the picture below.
|The White Crown of Ancient Egypt can be interpreted as being formed on Map 7
by the Roman Road heading in a north easterly direction from Hadrian's Wall
on Dere Street, up beyond Morpeth, leading to Alnwick.
Following the coast road back down to North Shields,
across to Walls End and along Hadrian's Wall completes the White Crown.
The Constellation of Orion and the mummified Osiris imposed onto the Durham and
Northumberland landscape suggests that what are usually considered as Roman roads, were in
fact laid down by an earlier culture. This indicates to me a race even earlier than the Celts. The
presence of Orion and the mummified Osiris indicates only one possible culture ... the remote
The Ancient Egyptians considered the "Land of the Dead" as the "Western Land" or the "Land of
the Westerners". It is my strong belief that they would have considered England, Wales, Scotland
and Ireland as just such a location.
Sceptics will argue that there isn't any evidence of Ancient Egyptians in Great Britain ...despite
Osiris / Orion being imposed upon the Durham landscape as shown above! However there is
further evidence. You are invited to visit my web page "Skara Brae: an Ancient Egyptian
Settlement" at http://www.washingtonlass.com/Skara_Brae.html
|A Connection between The Belt of Orion and Alnwick
On Star Map 2 below, the three stars Alniltak, Alnilam and Mintaka form what is generally referred
to as Orion's Belt. However they are also known by the names: The Maggi, The Three Wise Men
and also String of Pearls. The Maggi and The Three Wise Men have Biblical connotations but
String of Pearls is of Arabic derivation. I make mention of this because of the name Alnwick
associated above with the White Crown. I couldn't help but make the connection between the
names of two of the stars in Orion's Belt, Alniltak and Alnilam,and the name Alnwick. This
suggests that the names of the River Aln (meaning "string" and used to describe the river as
"string of water") and the town of Alnwick are of Arabic origin, probably associated with Arbeia,
the Roman Fort at South Shields which is generally referred to as "The Place of the Arabs".
|Star Map 2: The Constellation of Orion
|A Clearer Picture: The Constellation of Orion sits upon the Durham Landscape
On Star Map 3 below I have outlined the Constellation of Orion to show him sitting upon the
Roman Roads (originally they were probably Ancient Egyptian) of the Durham landscape. The
Star Map also illustrates how the places are positioned to correspond to the stars. The Arm of
Orion is represented by the Wreken Dike while Wrekenton represents the star Belatrix.
|Star Map 3: The Constellation of Orion imposed on the Durham Landscape
The meaning of "Wreken" in the Wreken Dike
Earlier, under the heading of "WREKENTON the site of the previously unidentified Roman Station
DICTIUM", I concluded that "Dike" was a derivation of the Latin place name "Dictium" meaning
"Meeting Place". However, up until now I have not considered the meaning of "Wreken" in the
name "Wreken Dike".
William Brockie had this to say in 1889:
|The etymologies of Rychnild and Wrekin, given by Horsley, Hutchinson, Bertram, and
other antiquaries, are quite conjectural, and of no value. Burton, in his commentary on
Antonius's Itinerary through Britain, reads Icknel instead of Rycknild, and derives the
word from the Iceni, who inhabited Norfolk and Suffolk; others point to Wrekin in
Shropshire, over or near which the Wattling Street passed, as possibly affording some
clue to the meaning of the name.
For our own part we conceive that the original term must have been Reken or Recken
Dyke, meaning the "Giant's Dyke". In Icelandic "regin" is used in the Eddiac poems for
the gods, as in "blith regin" the blyth gods"; "uppregin", the powers above, the
celestial gods; "ragnarock", the twilight of the gods, the last day.
William Brockie 1889
Brockie 1889 refers to "Reken Dyke" as meaning "Giant's Dyke". The Icelandic word "regin" he
translates as "the celestial gods". In astronomy, the Constellation of Orion is also known as "The
Giant" or "The King". It can therefore be concluded that "Reken Dyke" can be translated as both
"Giant's Dike" and "Orion's Dike".
The Latin word for "King" is "rex - regis". The genitive form "regis" can be considered the root of
both the Icelandic "regin" ... and the "Reken Dike" ... "Regin Dike".
|It is logical to further conclude therefore that
the "Wreken Dike" could have been, or actually was,
known as "Regin Dictium" or "Regin Dike"
before its name was further corrupted.
Epilogue: New Meaning emerges for HADRIAN'S WALL
My original intention was to end my web page about the Wreken Dyke here, but when I was
constructing Star Maps 2 and 3 above, I inadvertently drew a line across from Wrekenton to
Ebchester. I looked in amazement and said aloud to myself, "That's Hadrian's Wall!" I took out my
big Road Atlas to check the layout. It fit perfectly.
"But what about the Arm of Orion, the Wrekendike?" I asked myself. "And what about Orion's
Bow?" I thought about the Angles, Jutes and Vikings coming across from Germany and Denmark
to land at the mouth of the River Tyne, not unlike visitors from Norway today. I found my World
Atlas and looked at a map of Europe. Once again the layout fit perfectly.
As a result of my inadvertent mistake of constructing a line from Wrekenton to Ebchester I have
discovered new meaning for Hadrian's Wall. It was not necessarily built for defence purposes but
rather as part of a master plan to mirror image a short section of the Constellation of Orion. Heaven
Not only Hadrian's Wall, but also major Roman Roads of the North East of England, were written in
the stars ... and most probably by the Ancient Egyptians.
|Star Map 4: New meaning emerges for
the building of Hadrian's Wall.
It was written in the stars.
Heaven on Earth.
It was about ten years ago when I first recognized that the Northern Winter Sky Chart had been
etched into the landscape of England and Wales. It was a chance encounter. I had been browsing
through a Year Eight history book about the Ancient World when I happened upon the map below
(Map 8). It was the Constellations of Canis Major and Lepus which initially caught my attention.
At the time I was familiar with the Northern Winter Sky Chart because I had painstakingly drawn it
by hand for my web page "The Celestial Sphinx". In fact it was when I was drawing this sky chart
that I actually discovered the Lost Constellation of the Celestial Sphinx. The Northern Winter Sky
Chart which I had hand-drawn is reproduced on the next page and labelled Star Map 5.
I was at a bit of a loss as to why there would be a sky chart in a Year Eight history book ... of
which, irritatingly, I no longer have any record of the title and author. I soon learned the answer
when I put on my glasses! Alongside the map was written, "This map shows some of the roads,
forts and towns built by the Romans." I was astounded.
|Map 8: The Northern Winter Sky Chart has been etched
into the landscape of England and Wales.
However, alongside the map was written
"This map shows some of the roads, forts and towns built by the Romans."
|Star Map 5: I was familiar with the Northern Winter Sky Chart
because I had painstakingly drawn it by hand for
my web page "The Celestial Sphinx"
|In the Star Maps below I have bolded and named the Constellations of the Northern Winter Skies
which have been reproduced as part of the generally recognized system of Roman Roads in
England and Wales. Previously I have proposed that the Romans inherited the layout from an
earlier culture, even earlier than the Celts. Namely, the Ancient Egyptians.
|I invite you to compare the constellations
highlighted in the following maps to those
outlined in Star Map 5 above.
|The esoteric meaning of the purpose of the
network of Roman Roads in Great Britain has finally been revealed.
They are a mirror image of the
Constellations of the Northern Winter Sky.
A re-creation of Heaven on Earth.
As above, so below.
Please visit some of my other Local History web sites
|Biddick and Sanderson