Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dike linear boundary north west of High Merrybent

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.458 / 54°27'28"N

Longitude: -1.7007 / 1°42'2"W

OS Eastings: 419503.01981

OS Northings: 507000.514891

OS Grid: NZ195070

Mapcode National: GBR JJKW.LP

Mapcode Global: WHC66.V6BR

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dike linear boundary north west of High Merrybent

Scheduled Date: 26 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014799

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28254

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 includes a section of the linear boundary known as Scots Dike
lying on Gatherley Moor. The monument includes a bank and ditch which has been
reduced by agricultural activity and is no longer visible as an earthwork.
However remains of the bank and infilled ditch are preserved as buried
features clearly visible on aerial photographs. The monument is orientated
north to south, extends for 260m and is up to 20m wide. To the north the
monument ends at a field boundary but continues again c.2.5km to the north; to
the south the monument is truncated by a quarry, now infilled. Two other
sections of dyke to the south are the subject of separate schedulings.
The surface of the track and all modern fences and walls 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 Dike 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 Dike 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 no longer visible as an upstanding earthwork this section of the
Scots Dike will still retain important archaeological remains, particularly in
the infilled ditch, and will provide information about the development of the
landscape in the post Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
RCHME, , Scots Dyke, (1986)
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), 221-225

Source: Historic England

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