Ancient Monuments

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Devil's Ditch, section extending 330yds (300m) west of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park, Box Grove

A Scheduled Monument in Westhampnett, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8684 / 50°52'6"N

Longitude: -0.7346 / 0°44'4"W

OS Eastings: 489143.166026

OS Northings: 108422.095038

OS Grid: SU891084

Mapcode National: GBR DGG.F3S

Mapcode Global: FRA 96BT.5MX

Entry Name: Devil's Ditch, section extending 330yds (300m) W of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park, Box Grove

Scheduled Date: 24 January 1935

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005871

English Heritage Legacy ID: WS 75

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Westhampnett

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Boxgrove

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Summary

A 260m length of Devil’s Ditch, running west of Goodwood Park Hotel towards The Goldings, Goodwood Park.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 22 October 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 includes a 260m length of Devil’s Ditch, also known as the Devil’s Dyke, a prehistoric linear boundary surviving as an earthwork and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a gentle south-facing slope near the cricket ground at Goodwood Park.

The earthwork is denoted by a bank, about 2m high, and a ditch, ,on its northern side, about 7m wide and 1m deep. It runs east to west from Goodwood Park Hotel, parallel to the drive of Goodwood House, passing north of Gardeners Cottage, before disappearing near The Goldings.

The Devil’s Ditch in Sussex has been documented by antiquarians since at least the 18th century. It is part of a group of linear earthworks on the gravel plain between the foot of the South Downs and Chichester Harbour. The entrenchments run from Lavant to Boxgrove and appear to enclose the area of the coastal plain to the south. It has been suggested that these marked out a high status, proto-urban tribal settlement (or ‘oppidum’) preceding the Roman invasion. The Devil’s Ditch is thought to date to the Late Iron Age (about 100 BC – AD 43) but was recut and extended in places during the medieval period. The name of the entrenchment is derived from a local tradition, which holds that the ditch was the work of the devil in an attempt to channel the sea and flood the churches of Sussex.

It is within the bounds of Goodwood Park, a Grade I registered park.

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 from 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 often 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; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The 260m length of Devil’s Ditch, running west of Goodwood Park Hotel towards The Goldings, Goodwood Park is a well preserved and visually impressive example of the entrenchment. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the earthwork and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hamilton, S, Gregory, K, 'Updating the Sussex Iron Age' in Sussex Archaeological Collections, , Vol. 138, (2000), 63 & 66
Other
West Sussex HER 1940 - MWS3239. NMR LINEAR 34. PastScape 1065548

Source: Historic England

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