Ancient Monuments

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Two linear earthworks on Row Brow which extend into Raincliffe Woods

A Scheduled Monument in Newby and Scalby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2821 / 54°16'55"N

Longitude: -0.4577 / 0°27'27"W

OS Eastings: 500508.7807

OS Northings: 488477.8393

OS Grid: TA005884

Mapcode National: GBR TL7X.QR

Mapcode Global: WHGBZ.YM7N

Entry Name: Two linear earthworks on Row Brow which extend into Raincliffe Woods

Scheduled Date: 5 August 1933

Last Amended: 14 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008131

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23811

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Newby and Scalby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: East Ayton St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a pair of linear earthworks of prehistoric date on the
north eastern edge of Seamer Moor.
The longer of the two earthworks is orientated broadly south east to north
west and runs along Row Brow before turning slightly to the north where it
extends into Raincliffe Woods, running down the valley side. It remains
visible as an earthwork feature at its northern end north of Lady Grace's
Ride, a modern track. To the south of this track it is no longer visible as an
earthwork but is visible on aerial photographs. The earthwork is formed by a
linear ditch bounded by two earthen banks running parallel to the ditch, on
either side of it. The monument is up to 12m wide. Where they survive as
upstanding earthworks the external banks are between 2m and 5m wide and 0.5m
high. The central ditch is between 2m and 5m wide and is up to 1.5m deep. The
earthwork is crossed by two footpaths, and a trackway known as Lady Grace's
At its southern end it abuts the second earthwork which is orientated roughly
north-south and extends to the edge of Row Brow. It is identical in form and
dimension to the earthwork remains of the first linear earthwork in Raincliffe
Woods described above. The southern end of this earthwork has a distinct
terminal, with a rounded end to the ditch, also marking an original end point.
Remains at the northern end of the earthwork indicate that it also originally
terminated here on the edge of the valley. Toward its northern end this
earthwork has been levelled by the modern track, Lady Grace's Ride, which
crosses it. Here the ditches will survive as buried features.

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.

These linear earthworks survive reasonably well. Although affected by
agricultual activity, the course of a track and tree-planting areas of the
monument both remain visible as earthwork features and as buried features
visible on aerial photographs. Together with other cross dykes in the
immediate vicinity they will contribute to an understanding of prehistoric
land division in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 60-64

Source: Historic England

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