Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m north of Langdale

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4863 / 54°29'10"N

Longitude: -1.7005 / 1°42'1"W

OS Eastings: 419497.564729

OS Northings: 510146.486572

OS Grid: NZ194101

Mapcode National: GBR JJKK.MK

Mapcode Global: WHC60.VHDL

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m north of Langdale

Scheduled Date: 18 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013306

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26954

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: 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 situated
on level ground, to the north of Langdale. The dyke includes a bank and
flanking ditch extending for 100m north to south. The bank varies from 3.5m to
5.5m wide and is up to 1m high, with the ditch lying to the east being 1.5m
wide and up to 1.5m deep. At the southern terminus the line of the dyke
continuing to the south can be identified in field boundaries but has been
much altered by agricultural activity and is not included in the scheduling.
However 400m to the south the dyke continues as an earthwork where it is the
subject of a separate scheduling. At the north end the dyke has been truncated
by a large field drain and a trackway but continues again as an earthwork 20m
to the north where it is the subject of a separate scheduling.
All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath 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

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 retained which
offer important information about the development of the landscape in the post
Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
McDonald, , A Description and Consideration of Scots Dyke in North Yorkshire, (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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