Ancient Monuments

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Length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road

A Scheduled Monument in Temple Newsam, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.7958 / 53°47'44"N

Longitude: -1.4306 / 1°25'50"W

OS Eastings: 437606.15596

OS Northings: 433425.097748

OS Grid: SE376334

Mapcode National: GBR LSGK.21

Mapcode Global: WHDBL.0V1G

Entry Name: Length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018795

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32143

County: Leeds

Electoral Ward/Division: Temple Newsam

Built-Up Area: Leeds

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.
This length runs for 310m immediately east of Burrowby Road.
In this section Grim's Ditch has been placed to take advantage of and use a
steep natural slope 4m high. A ditch has been placed at the base of the slope
while the bank runs along the top of the slope. At the northern end of the
section the ditch survives as an earthwork 6m wide and 0.5m deep. Further
south it has been obscured and infilled by continued ploughing but still
survives as a buried feature. The bank is approximately 10m wide and 0.5m
At the northern end Barrowby Lane lies outside the area of protection. At the
southern end the access road into the Thorpe Business Park also lies
immediately outside the monument.
All walls and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

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

The length of Grim's Ditch immediately east of Barrowby Road survives
reasonably well and will preserve significant archaeological information.

Source: Historic England

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