Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary east of Langdale Rush

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4795 / 54°28'46"N

Longitude: -1.6971 / 1°41'49"W

OS Eastings: 419721.849966

OS Northings: 509392.785688

OS Grid: NZ197093

Mapcode National: GBR JJLM.CZ

Mapcode Global: WHC60.XN0S

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary east of Langdale Rush

Scheduled Date: 1 April 1974

Last Amended: 8 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014240

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26948

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 linear earthwork known as Scots Dyke lying to
the east of Langdale Rush plantation. The dyke includes a bank and flanking
ditch extending for 150m north to south. The bank is 6m wide and 1m high with
the ditch lying to the east. The ditch has been infilled by agricultural
activity and is visible as a faint hollow 1m wide flanking the bank. At the
northern end the line of the dyke continues as the embankment containing
Stanwick Hall Reservoir. The dyke continues as an earthwork 250m to the north
east where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. To the south the dyke
cannot be identified for 50m but then is visible as an earthwork again and is
the subject of a separate scheduling.
All modern 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 is
well preserved and significant archaeological remains will be preserved within
and beneath the monument.

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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