Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 235m south of Stanwick Hall Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4773 / 54°28'38"N

Longitude: -1.6969 / 1°41'48"W

OS Eastings: 419738.098358

OS Northings: 509145.815463

OS Grid: NZ197091

Mapcode National: GBR JJLN.FS

Mapcode Global: WHC60.XQ4H

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 235m south of Stanwick Hall Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 25 March 1981

Last Amended: 8 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013304

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26949

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Melsonby

Built-Up Area: Melsonby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Melsonby

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is a section of the linear earthwork known as Scots Dyke lying
300m south east of High Wood. It includes a ditch and low scarp slope
incorporated into a field terrace, which extends north to south for 30m, and a
further 150m where the dyke has been reduced by agricultural activity
and, although it is no longer visible as an earthwork, can be seen as a
cropmark. At the northern end the ditch is 4m wide and the bank to the west is
5m wide and up to 1.3m high. Where the monument survives as buried remains it
is up to 12m wide. At the north end of the monument, the dyke cannot be
identified for a further 50m but then is preserved as an earthwork where it is
the subject of a separate scheduling. To the south the dyke is truncated by a
road and cannot be identified for 2.3km, but then reappears as a feature
identifiable on aerial photographs and is the subject of a separate

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

Scots Dyke is a linear earthwork extending for 14km from the River Swale to
the River Tees in North Yorkshire. Significant sections remain visible as
upstanding earthworks and indicate that the dyke system had an earthen
rampart flanked on the eastern side by a ditch. Where not preserved as an
upstanding monument, the dyke is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs
and elswhere often survives as a low bank beneath present field boundaries. It
was constructed in the post Roman period and encloses an area in the eastern
foothills of the Pennines between the two rivers. This area contained wealthy
arable and pastoral land as well as some of the mineral resources of the
northern Pennines. Linear earthworks were used to divide territory for
military, social, economic and political purposes, often using natural
features such as rivers and watersheds to define an area. Scots Dyke was built
to consolidate territorial and economic units in response to changing
political circumstances during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. These were
brought about, at least in part, by the arrival of the Anglians in northern
England. Fewer than 50 examples of linear earthworks of post Roman date have
been identified in England. As a rare monument type of considerable importance
to the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all surviving examples
are identified as being of national importance. Although reduced by
agricultural activity, this section of Scots Dyke will retain significant
archeological remains and offers important information about the development
of the landscape in the post Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Haselgrove, C, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North' in Indigenous settlement patterns in the Tyne-Tees lowlands, (1982)
Maclaughlan, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Roman Roads Camps and Earthworks in the North Riding, , Vol. VOL 6, (1849)

Source: Historic England

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