Ancient Monuments

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King Lud's Intrenchments and adjacent barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Sproxton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.8423 / 52°50'32"N

Longitude: -0.7171 / 0°43'1"W

OS Eastings: 486507.48014

OS Northings: 327969.421108

OS Grid: SK865279

Mapcode National: GBR CPG.ZF1

Mapcode Global: WHFJP.YTPD

Entry Name: King Lud's Intrenchments and adjacent barrow

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1934

Last Amended: 28 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013184

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17107

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Sproxton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Croxton Kerrial

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The site known as King Lud's Intrenchments is situated on the parish
boundaries of Sproxton and Croxton Kerrial in north eastern Leicestershire,
adjoining its boundary with Lincolnshire. The monument includes the earthworks
and below ground features of a linear bank and ditch system, and a barrow.
The linear bank and ditch system is contained within two long spinneys known
as Cooper's Plantation to the west and Egypt Plantation to the east, with a
small section beneath a road near the centre of the site. The banks and
ditches contained within the 1387m long constraint area are aligned east-west
and are an average of 20m wide. Earthworks exist within Cooper's Plantation
for a distance of 750m and include three parallel banks separated by two
ditches. The ditches are up to 1.5m deep and an average of 8m wide and the
banks are up to 0.5m high. An excavated section of the ditches has shown that
the southern ditch is `V' shaped in profile and the northern ditch `U' shaped.
World War II airfield buildings have modified the banks in the eastern part of
Cooper's Plantation, but the ditches will survive as below ground features
both in this area and beneath the road. There are slight earthworks of the
ditches and banks above ground in Egypt Plantation, which have also been
modified by wartime activity and by quarrying. Below ground remains of the
ditches will be retained in this area. A single bank, situated to the north of
a disused quarry, is up to 0.75m high and 8m wide and has slight remains of a
ditch on its northern side. The line of the monument is followed by a parish
boundary throughout its entire length. On the eastern side the intrenchments
join a prehistoric trackway known as Sewstern Lane. The bank and ditch system
was probably constructed to define a boundary in the landscape.
The bank and ditch system lies adjacent to a Bronze Age barrow cemetery,
originally containing at least twelve barrows. Only one barrow is known to
survive today and is situated immediately to the south of the line of the
linear earthworks within Egypt Plantation. This barrow is included in the
scheduling. The barrow measures about 25m in diameter and 1.5m high with no
visible surrounding ditch. A hollow in the centre of the barrow is the result
of an excavation by Bateman in 1860. The site of a second barrow, also opened
by Bateman, lies to the south of Egypt Plantation. It was completely
excavated in 1978 and is not a part of the revised scheduling.
King Lud's Intrenchments have long been considered to be of Saxon origin and
identified with Ludeca of Mercia. The first documentary reference to the site
appears in a charter of Croxton Abbey dated 1162. Recent work with aerial
photographs has suggested, however, that the monument may be part of an
extensive prehistoric boundary system stretching from Northamptonshire to the
Humber which has been termed `the Jurassic spine'. Kind Lud's Intrenchments
are aligned at right angles to the main components of this system. Most of
the remaining stretches of this boundary system only survive today as crop
Excluded from the scheduling are all World War II features and the modern road
surface, although the ground beneath these features 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

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been re-used later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance
for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The linear monument known as King Lud's Intrenchments is considered to be part
of a larger boundary system. This may have been of Bronze Age date and part of
the so called `Jurassic spine'. Alternatively, the monument could also have
been of a later date, though prior to the mid 12th century. Earthwork remains
of boundary systems of either date are rare in the Midlands. Associated with
the linear monument is a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, of which one barrow is
known to survive in good condition. It lies in close proximity to the linear
monument, in an important position for establishing the relationship between
these two groups of sites.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Liddle, P, Leicestershire Archaeology: The Present State of Knowledge, (1982)
Pickering, J, Hartley, R F, Past Worlds in a Landscape, (1985)
Pickering, J, The Jurassic Spine, (1978)

Source: Historic England

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