Ancient Monuments

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Medieval dyke known as War Dike

A Scheduled Monument in Stainton Dale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3854 / 54°23'7"N

Longitude: -0.4703 / 0°28'13"W

OS Eastings: 499438.888582

OS Northings: 499960.571362

OS Grid: SE994999

Mapcode National: GBR TK4Q.ZQ

Mapcode Global: WHGBL.R17C

Entry Name: Medieval dyke known as War Dike

Scheduled Date: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020118

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34821

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Stainton Dale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ravenscar St Hilda

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a dyke, known as War Dike,
located near the eastern coast of the North York Moors overlooking the sea to
the north east.
The dyke is a medieval estate boundary. From documentary sources dating from
1184 it has been identified as the boundary known as the Steindic. This formed
part of the boundary to land granted to the Knights Hospitallers of St John
of Jerusalem and later to Bridlington Priory. It is one of a series of
boundary features in the area which divided the land into discrete
territories. Some of these divisions have their origins in the prehistoric
period but continued in use into the medieval period and beyond.
The dyke extends from north east to south west for a distance of 150m. It
includes a substantial bank up to 5m wide and 1m high with a ditch lying to
the west. The ditch measures 1m in width. At the northern end the dyke
originally extended north east to the cliff edge some 150m away and at the
southern end the dyke originally continued south east to the head of
Staintondale. However, these further sections of the dyke have been reduced by
agricultural and other activity and the full nature and extent of any
surviving remains is not yet known. They are not therefore included in the
All fences and the wall along the top of the dyke are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks, typically between 2.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside or parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks, as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that the period of construction
of many cross dykes spanned the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age. Others
are known to have had a function in the Middle Ages; without excavation it is
difficult to determine whether this indicates reuse of earlier dykes or the
construction of new ones during the medieval period. Current information
favours the view that they were used as boundary markers, probably demarcating
some form of land allotment, although they may also have been used as
trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of
the few monument types which indicate how land was divided up, whether in the
prehistoric or medieval period. They are of considerable importance for the
analysis of contemporary settlement and land use patterns. Relatively few
examples have survived to the present day and hence all well preserved
examples will merit statutory protection.

This section of the War Dike survives well and significant evidence of its
original form and function will survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 65-68
Vyner, B, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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