Ancient Monuments

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Wat's Dyke: 180m long section, 170m east of Pentre-wern

A Scheduled Monument in Selattyn and Gobowen, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8888 / 52°53'19"N

Longitude: -3.04 / 3°2'24"W

OS Eastings: 330118.575248

OS Northings: 332881.879848

OS Grid: SJ301328

Mapcode National: GBR 74.Q01C

Mapcode Global: WH89Q.8NM6

Entry Name: Wat's Dyke: 180m long section, 170m east of Pentre-wern

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1967

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020560

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33866

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Selattyn and 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. This section runs for about 130m
from the south side of the embankment of the road which connects the B6905
to Pentre Dafydd, southwards to the eastern hedge for the A5. The Dyke
survives as a bank, up to 0.6m high, with slight traces of a ditch to the
west. The remains are about 23m wide in this section. At either end the
remains are truncated by the construction of both the A5 and the
embankment carrying the B6905 on a bridge over it.

To the north and the south of this section are further sections of Wat's
Dyke which are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and stiles 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

Wat's Dyke is a linear earthwork 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 construction has
not been accurately determined, but it is considered that it was built at
an earlier date than the parallel late 8th century Offa's Dyke, although
it fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands
firmly in conrol 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 180m long section of Wat's Dyke, 170m east of Pentre-wern Farm is
well-preserved despite ploughing in the past and partial truncation by the
construction of the A5 in 1987. 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. Buried soils
beneath the bank 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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