Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 600m south east of Park House

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4882 / 54°29'17"N

Longitude: -1.6996 / 1°41'58"W

OS Eastings: 419560.389397

OS Northings: 510356.545388

OS Grid: NZ195103

Mapcode National: GBR JJKJ.VW

Mapcode Global: WHC60.VGW4

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 600m south east of Park House

Scheduled Date: 30 October 1972

Last Amended: 2 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013305

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26953

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Melsonby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Aldbrough

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is a section of linear earthwork known as Scots Dyke situated on
level ground, to the south east of Park House. The dyke includes a well
preserved bank and flanking ditch extending for 300m north to south. The bank
varies from 5.5m to 8m wide and is up to 2.5m high, with the ditch lying to
the east being 1.5m wide and up to 1.5m deep. At the northern end the line of
the dyke continuing to the north can be identified in field boundaries but has
been much altered by agricultural activity and is not included in the
scheduling. However the dyke does continue as an earthwork 150m to the north
where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. At the south end the dyke
has been truncated by a large field drain and a trackway but continues again
as an earthwork 20m to the south where it 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. This section of Scots Dyke
survives well and significant archaeological remains will be preserved which
offer important information about the development of the landscape in the post
Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
McDonald, D A, Description and consideration of Scots Dyke, (1984)
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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