Ancient Monuments

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Cross-dyke on Barrister's Plain, 800m south east of Narnell's Rock

A Scheduled Monument in Church Stretton, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5296 / 52°31'46"N

Longitude: -2.8476 / 2°50'51"W

OS Eastings: 342595.901335

OS Northings: 292751.17451

OS Grid: SO425927

Mapcode National: GBR BD.FPMH

Mapcode Global: VH75T.LPF5

Entry Name: Cross-dyke on Barrister's Plain, 800m south east of Narnell's Rock

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1930

Last Amended: 20 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007703

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19111

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Church Stretton

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Church Stretton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a univallate cross-dyke situated on Barrister's Plain, a
narrow saddle between Round Hill to the north-west and Grindle Hill to the
south-east. The dyke is visible as a well defined linear bank of earth and
stone construction 170m long, averaging 5.5m wide and 0.6m high, with a
flanking ditch on its north-west side 3m wide and 0.4m deep. The earthworks
are orientated north-east to south-west, cutting across the line of the ridge
top at its narrowest point. The bank tails off down the sides of the hill at
either end to link the precipitous north and south scarps of the spur; the
ditch fades out as the bank ends. The bank is lowered between 19m and 28m from
the southern end, possibly the result of slighting at some time in the past. A
trackway 4m wide crosses the ditch and cuts through the bank some 66m from the
southern end of the dyke. Although this appears modern, it could represent the
original position of a passage through the dyke.
The structure is clearly not of a defensive nature, being too slight and
overlooked from both sides. However, it effectively isolates the eastern tip
of the spur, `Grindle Hill', from the main body of the hill to the west and
would have functioned as part of a system of land management during the Late
Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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 Barrister's Plain is a particularly good example of its
class which survives largely intact and undisturbed. It will retain
archaeological material within the deposits of the bank and ditch and
environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was
constructed will be sealed on the old land surface beneath the bank and in the
ditch fill. The monument is one of several cross-dyke structures which occur
in similar ridge top situations on the Long Mynd, often in close association
with other monuments of the same period. Considered as a group they contribute
valuable information towards an understanding of the intensity of settlement
and nature of land use of this area of upland during the Late Bronze Age and
Early Iron Age.

Source: Historic England

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