Ancient Monuments

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Length of Grim's Ditch partly under Bullerthorpe Lane 620m north of Gamblethorpe

A Scheduled Monument in Swillington, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.7745 / 53°46'28"N

Longitude: -1.4322 / 1°25'56"W

OS Eastings: 437514.889958

OS Northings: 431057.708865

OS Grid: SE375310

Mapcode National: GBR LSFS.QP

Mapcode Global: WHDBR.ZD47

Entry Name: Length of Grim's Ditch partly under Bullerthorpe Lane 620m north of Gamblethorpe

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018792

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31511

County: Leeds

Civil Parish: Swillington

Built-Up Area: Swillington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Swillington St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a length of the linear earthwork known as Grim's Ditch.
It survives partly beneath the old course of Bullerthorpe Lane immediately
south of the new A1-M1 link road. Where it survives as an upstanding
earthwork Grim's Ditch includes a substantial bank and ditch. The bank is
typically 12m wide and of varying height. Where the bank and ditch have been
observed together, the bank always occurs on the west side of the ditches with
no intervening berm.
Excavations during 1996-7 prior to the re-alignment of Bullerthorpe Lane
showed that the ditch survives to a depth of 2.5m running parallel to and
immediately east of the old (pre 1996) course of the Lane. The bank lies
under the old course of the lane; evidence from other sections of the Grim's
Ditch indicates that the bank will have been flattened by the road
construction but that significant remains will still survive.
The surface of Bullerthorpe Lane is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.
The new A1-M1 link road, construction of which also led to the re-alignment of
Bullerthorpe Lane, is not marked on the map extract.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The West Yorkshire Grim's Ditch is a linear earthwork consisting of a
substantial bank with a deep, rock-cut ditch on its east side. It lies to the
east of Leeds, and the known remains extend northwards for approximately 3.5
km, from just north of the River Aire at Gamblethorpe Farm, Swillington, to
Cock Beck on Whinmoor. Less definite evidence suggests that the earthwork
survives further south to the River Aire, and north beyond Cock Beck.
Grim's Ditch still survives in several places as a visible earthwork. The most
likely context for the construction of Grim's Ditch has always been thought to
be as a defence for the British kingdom of Elmet, and in particular its major
centre, Leeds, against the advance of the Anglo-Saxons in the early 7th
century AD. However, preliminary results from excavations of a section of
Grim's Ditch at Colton suggest that the ditch was open during the Roman
Both the bank and ditch can be seen for most of a 1.8 km stretch, extending
from the A1-M1 link road at the south edge of Avenue Wood, Temple Newsam, to
the A63 at Colton. Lengths of ditch are also visible at Gamblethorpe Farm, and
at the base of a scarp south of Barrowby Road, Austhorpe. The remaining known
course of Grim's Ditch is not a visible earthwork, but it has been located by
means of excavation and geophysical survey.
The size and extent of Grim's Ditch implies a considerable expenditure of time
and labour, and also suggests a degree of social organisation at the time of
its construction. All known lengths of Grim's Ditch, where significant
archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered to be nationally

Although the length of Grim's Ditch 620m north of Gamblethorpe is partly under
a road, evidence from excavations in the area show that significant
archaeological deposits remain.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
WYAS, , A1-M1 Link Road, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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