Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Wat's Dyke: 110m long section, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Selattyn and Gobowen, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.9067 / 52°54'23"N

Longitude: -3.0332 / 3°1'59"W

OS Eastings: 330607.331783

OS Northings: 334856.865538

OS Grid: SJ306348

Mapcode National: GBR 74.NV0V

Mapcode Global: WH89Q.C6VJ

Entry Name: Wat's Dyke: 110m long section, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1937

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020561

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33869

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 earthworks and buried remains of
part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke, which runs for 110m beside the
road from Pen y cae to Henlle Hall. The Dyke exists as a bank, about 1.8m
high and 15m wide at the base, with a ditch on the western side, 6m wide
and 0.7m deep. The ditch has been partly infilled with soil since it was
constructed and is now regularly cleaned out to provide drainage for the
carriageway beside it to the west. At the north end the remains have been
truncated by levelling the garden at The Lodge, and at the south end the
remains have been obscured by the buildings for Preeshenlle Farm. There
are further sections of Wat's Dyke to the north and south which are the
subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them 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
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, and 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 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 (land
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, 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 110m long section of Wat's Dyke, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm
is well- preserved, standing up to about half of its original height, with
a well-defined ditch to the west. The remains are clearly visible from the
public highway and will provide a resource for education and recreational
enjoyment for the community. The soils in the infill of the ditch in this
section will contain waterlogged remains providing important evidence for
the environmental history of the Dyke.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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