Ancient Monuments

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Bishop's Dyke

A Scheduled Monument in Dalston, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.8567 / 54°51'24"N

Longitude: -2.9795 / 2°58'46"W

OS Eastings: 337217.1332

OS Northings: 551766.9967

OS Grid: NY372517

Mapcode National: GBR 7DM8.RS

Mapcode Global: WH808.66G2

Entry Name: Bishop's Dyke

Scheduled Date: 5 August 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007136

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 381

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Dalston

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Dalston St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


Sections of Bishop’s Dyke, north and west of Dalston Hall.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 March 2016. This 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 the remains of a dyke of medieval date, which traverse a south facing slope to the north and the west of Dalston Hall. The remains of the dyke, known as Bishop’s Dyke, are contained within four separate areas of protection with two of the sections being aligned north east-south west, one of the sections being aligned east-west and the longest section being aligned east-west before turning south west. The dyke includes a bank and double ditch with a causeway set in between. The dyke acted as a boundary marking land belonging to Dalston Hall and is also understood to have been used as a defensive earthwork to protect against Scottish marauders. The Scots laid waste to Dalston in 1337 and 1346 resulting in the construction of a pele tower. Court Rolls from 1423 record repairs to the dyke.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A small number of substantial and defensible boundary features have been identified as frontier works marking territories in the early medieval period. Up to 50 examples are known with a fairly wide distribution across England, including examples in southern England, East Anglia, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and along the Welsh border. Identified remains extend over distances from as little as 300m up to as much as 240km in the case of Offa's Dyke. They survive in the form of earthworks and as buried features visible as cropmarks or soilmarks on aerial photographs. They appear often to have been constructed across the natural grain of the landscape and, although many examples consisted of a single bank and flanking ditch, to vary considerably in their form and dimensions, even along different stretches of the same boundary, depending upon local topography. Evidence from contemporary documentary sources, excavation and survey suggests that they were constructed in the early medieval period between the fifth and eighth centuries AD. Some were relatively ephemeral, perhaps in use for only a few years during periods of local strife; others, such as Offa's Dyke, constructed between Wales and Mercia, have formed long-lived territorial and/or military boundaries in use for several centuries. As a rare monument type of considerable importance to the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all surviving examples are identified as nationally important.

The sections of Bishop’s Dyke north and west of Dalston Hall are reasonably well-preserved as earthworks. The monument will contain archaeological deposits within the bank and infilled ditch relating to its construction and use. The monument is representative of its period and region and provides insight into the turbulent history of the Borders region during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 1032504

Source: Historic England

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