Ancient Monuments

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The Queen Dike: part of a cross-dyke 600m east of Wold Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Thixendale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0405 / 54°2'25"N

Longitude: -0.7641 / 0°45'50"W

OS Eastings: 481033.170471

OS Northings: 461209.219647

OS Grid: SE810612

Mapcode National: GBR RP3Q.CB

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.7PDV

Entry Name: The Queen Dike: part of a cross-dyke 600m east of Wold Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 15 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007919

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20582

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thixendale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Thixendale St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the best-preserved part of a cross-dyke which subdivides
the south-eastern arm of Deepdale Wold. This part of the dyke is known as the
'Queen Dike' and, of all the prehistoric linear earthworks in this area of the
Wolds, it is the only stretch of cross-dyke to have a traditional name. The
northern terminal of the cross-dyke lies near the bottom of an un-named slack
at the head of Water Dale; here the dyke is visible as an earthwork,
comprising a 4m wide bank up to 1m high and flanked on each side by a 5m wide
ditch. The ditch on the western side of the bank is 0.5m deep; that on the
eastern side is 0.3m deep. As the dyke rises out of the slack, the earthworks
have been altered by agricultural activity and become gradually less distinct,
although the bank survives beneath the present hedgerow for a further 50m.
The 1976 edition of OS 1:2500 scale map shows that the bank and western ditch
were still identifiable as earthworks which ran either side of the present
field boundary to within 20m of the Malton road; although the height of the
bank has been reduced by ploughing and the flanking ditches infilled, their
remains will survive beneath the ploughsoil. The dyke originally continued
across the top of the Wold to the brow of Washpit Dale; it was subsequently
cut across by the Roman road between Malton and Brough, (whose course is now
followed by the present highway). To the south-west of the road, the below-
ground remains of the cross-dyke have been observed on aerial photographs but
this stretch is less well-preserved, since it is no longer used as a field
boundary and has been under cultivation for a considerable time.
All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

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 Queen Dike is part of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which have
been recorded on the Wolds. The Queen Dike appears to have subdivided the top
of Deepdale Wold and it also cuts across the line of another prehistoric dyke
which seems to have defined a boundary along the western edge of the Wold.

The cross-dyke is associated with a group of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age
barrows in the vicinity of Hanging Grimstone. Similar groups of sites are
also known from other parts of the Wolds and from the southern edge of the
North York Moors. Such associations between monuments offer important scope
for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural
purposes. Additionally, some of the barrows in the Hanging Grimstone area are
distributed parallel to a line later adopted by a Roman road; this
distribution implies some continuity of land-divisions from at least the Early
Bronze Age into the Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 96, 102
Record No. 4106,
Records No. 04044.02 and 04044.01,
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,

Source: Historic England

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