Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill, 740m north of Brow Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Ratlinghope, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5722 / 52°34'20"N

Longitude: -2.8815 / 2°52'53"W

OS Eastings: 340353.830177

OS Northings: 297521.01162

OS Grid: SO403975

Mapcode National: GBR BC.C17W

Mapcode Global: WH8CB.QL1X

Entry Name: Cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill, 740m north of Brow Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007699

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19127

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Ratlinghope

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Ratlinghope

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a cross-dyke situated on a narrow north east to
south west orientated spur between Stitt Hill and Ratlinghope Hill. The cross-
dyke cuts at right angles across the spur to separate the south western tip of
the spur from the main plateau to the north east. It comprises a well defined
linear bank 60m long and 7m wide standing up to 0.8m high. This is flanked on
its north east side by a ditch, 4m wide and 0.7m deep, from which material for
the bank was quarried. The earthwork is cut 9m from its northern end by a
terraced trackway, the end of the bank remaining traceable to the north of
this cut, before it tails out on the steepening hillslope. A similar terraced
way truncates the dyke at its southern end. The earthwork is part of a complex
of cross-dykes and enclosures occupying the hilltop which are believed to date
from the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. Although their function is
uncertain it is believed they were used by inhabitants to manage stock and
control the grazing of the hilltop.
All boundary features crossing the earthwork towards its north and south
ends are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath both is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill survives well and is a fine example of its
class. It remains largely undisturbed and will retain archaeological material
and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was
constructed and the economy of the society that built it. It is one of a
complex of associated monuments occupying the hilltop and, as such,
contributes information relating to the land use and settlement pattern of
this area of upland during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Guilbert, G, 'BBCS' in BBCS, , Vol. XXVI, (1975), 368

Source: Historic England

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