Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Wat's Dyke: 140m long section, 370m south west of Gobowen Station

A Scheduled Monument in Selattyn and Gobowen, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8906 / 52°53'26"N

Longitude: -3.0394 / 3°2'21"W

OS Eastings: 330167.842663

OS Northings: 333082.078166

OS Grid: SJ301330

Mapcode National: GBR 74.PS8N

Mapcode Global: WH89Q.8LYT

Entry Name: Wat's Dyke: 140m long section, 370m south west of Gobowen Station

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1937

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020559

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33865

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Selattyn and Gobowen

Built-Up Area: Gobowen

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Gobowen All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes a section of the earthwork and buried remains of
part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke, which runs for 140m from a point
300m to the south west of Gobowen Station. The remains form an earthwork
bank approximately 0.6m high and spread by ploughing to 18m wide at the
base. There are slight traces of a ditch, 4m wide on the western side of
the bank. This section ends at the point where the remains of the bank and
ditch have been truncated by the construction of an embankment for a road
and bridge over the A5.

To the north and to the south of this section there are further sections
of Wat's Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings. All fence
posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is

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

Wat's Dyke is a linear boundary marker and defensive rampart. It runs for
about 60km from Basingwerk, on the Dee estuary, southwards to Maesbury,
near Oswestry. It consists of a large ditch, 5m wide and 2m deep, with a
bank on the eastern side. The bank is 10m wide at the base, on average,
and its original height was about 2.5m. Wat's Dyke runs roughly parallel
to Offa's Dyke which lies to the west, sometimes only 500m away. Both
dykes run along the border between England and Wales, and it is clear that
both were constructed to defend land on the eastern side from incursions
coming from the west.

The earthwork bank and ditch ran without interruption except where the
course of a stream or river cut through it. The date of the construction
has not been accurately determined, but it is considered that it was built
at an earlier date than the parallel 8th century Offa's Dyke, although it
fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly
in control of Anglo-Saxon overlords and lands more recently taken from the
native Britains of this area by the English. Subsequently land to the west
of the Dyke became part of what is now known as Wales The line of the Dyke
has been shown to mark a division between hidated (assessed for taxation
on the basis of the Anglo-Saxon units known as `hides') and unhidated
lands (lands under a different system of government) at the time of the
Domesday records. This suggests that the earthwork was constructed before
the `hide' system was put into practice during the reign of King Offa of
Mercia. The Dyke was probably built during the period of expansion of the
kingdom of Mercia before the accession of Offa, possibly during the reign
of Aethelbald (AD 716-757). All known lengths of Wat's Dyke where
significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered
to be nationally important.

This 140m long section of Wat's Dyke 370m south west of Gobowen Station is
well-preserved, despite ploughing in the recent past. The remains run
beside a public footpath and are visible from the road to Pentre Dafydd,
and will provide a source for education and recreational interest for the
public. Soils buried beneath the earthwork and in the infill of the ditch
will provide evidence for the construction of the Dyke and the landscape
at the time of both construction and abandonment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Worthington, M, Wat's Dyke, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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