Ancient Monuments

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Northern section of the Danes' Dyke from Wold Farm field boundary to Bempton Cliffs

A Scheduled Monument in Flamborough, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1363 / 54°8'10"N

Longitude: -0.1447 / 0°8'40"W

OS Eastings: 521310.887303

OS Northings: 472746.670327

OS Grid: TA213727

Mapcode National: GBR WNFM.G0

Mapcode Global: WHHF1.R99F

Entry Name: Northern section of the Danes' Dyke from Wold Farm field boundary to Bempton Cliffs

Scheduled Date: 22 August 1922

Last Amended: 29 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013194

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26509

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Flamborough

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Flamborough St Oswald

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument consists of the extreme northern section of the linear bank and
ditch system known as the Danes' Dyke which, in its entirety, runs from the
coast north of Flamborough Head south for a distance of two and a half miles,
enclosing an area of approximately five square miles of headland. This section
of the monument is situated on the coast by Dykes End, Bempton Cliffs and
extends south to the eastward bend in the earthwork conforming to the field
boundary aligned with Wold Farm.

The Danes' Dyke is thought to have been constructed in the Bronze Age along
with other linear earthworks on the nearby Yorkshire Wolds. Its name, however,
suggests a later date and it would seem likely that it was reused as a
defensive earthwork both by Iron Age tribes and probably also at some point in
the late ninth and tenth centuries AD. The dyke effectively cuts off the
Flamborough peninsula, which is also naturally defended on all sides by steep
chalk cliffs, converting it into a promontory fort. The area thus enclosed is
large enough, and has sufficient resources, to support a sizeable community,
with sources of fresh water available.

Continuing north from the eastward bend in the monument by Wold Farm, the
earthwork runs in a straight line due north, first as a double bank with ditch
alongside, then as a single high bank around 3m high and a steep ditch around
2m deep with a V shaped cross-section which terminates on the cliffs at Dykes
End. The monument has three further breaches in the bank and ditch, thought to
be of recent date to facilitate access or drainage.

Although the sections of the dyke system across the Flamborough peninsula abut
each other, for purposes of clarity and administration, the sections have been
defined as separate schedulings.

Modern post and wire fences dividing the monument from agricultural land
bounding it to the east and the west 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 5 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 Danes' Dyke is extremely well preserved and remains a significant boundary
in the modern landscape. It will retain important archaeological and
environmental information relating to its construction and function, together
with evidence of the contemporary climate and ecology of the locality and
subsequent history of use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of East Riding of Yorkshire, (1974), 151-152
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), p367
Ramm, H, 'RAI Summer Meeting Proceedings, 18/7/84' in Danes' Dyke, Flamborough (TA216694-213732), (1984), pp37-39
Bastow, M E, Ancient Monuments Record Form, AM107, (1987)
Information held by Humberside SMR, Various, (1994)
Pitt-Rivers, Major General, Papers of the British Association, (1881)
Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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