Ancient Monuments

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Linear earthworks in Pear Wood, west of Watling Street

A Scheduled Monument in Canons, Harrow

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Latitude: 51.6287 / 51°37'43"N

Longitude: -0.307 / 0°18'25"W

OS Eastings: 517277.69777

OS Northings: 193564.811608

OS Grid: TQ172935

Mapcode National: GBR 6V.57V

Mapcode Global: VHGQ9.MBK9

Entry Name: Linear earthworks in Pear Wood, W of Watling Street

Scheduled Date: 26 March 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1001996

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 120

County: Harrow

Electoral Ward/Division: Canons

Built-Up Area: Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Lawrence Whitchurch Lane

Church of England Diocese: London


Linear earthwork in Pear Wood, 395m east of Moor House.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 September 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into separate areas, includes a linear earthwork denoted by two banks and a ditch in Pear Wood. It is situated across a south-east facing slope of Brockley Hill near Stanmore.

On the north side is a bank and to the south is a V-shaped ditch. A further minor bank is situated south of the ditch. The northernmost bank was originally at least 2m high and the ditch has been recorded through partial excavation to be up to 7m wide and 1.8m deep. However the earthwork has been truncated along parts of its length through gravel extraction and the bank has been levelled in places. The ditch has become part in-filled and largely survives as a buried feature. It is orientated north-east to south-west and follows a linear course for 355m from a point just south-east of Pear Wood Cottages towards Wood Farm. It traverses and gradually ascends the hill in a diagonal route.

The linear earthwork in Pear Wood is possibly an easterly continuation of Grim’s Ditch. In 1948-9, 1954-9 and 1973, the site at Pear Wood was partially excavated but conclusive dating evidence was not obtained. The finds recovered on or in the vicinity of the earthwork included Iron Age and Roman pottery sherds, tile fragments, iron nails, a glass bowl and jar. In 1985, geophysical survey was carried out to investigate whether it was linked to Grim’s Ditch. No evidence was found, although gravel extraction may have removed traces of a join and/or the survey may not have been set to probe deep enough.

Part of the course of Watling Street Roman road, a Romano-British settlement and pottery manufacturing site are the subject of a separate scheduling to the north-east.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans at least a millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use from the Bronze Age onwards; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

Despite having been part-levelled, truncated and disturbed in the past, the linear earthwork in Pear Wood survives well. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the earthwork and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Greater London SMR 052160/00/00, MLO23402, MLO17282. NMR TQ19SE19, TQ19SE13. PastScape 398333, 398315.,

Source: Historic England

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