Ancient Monuments

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Wat's Dyke, 380m long section, immediately east of the Sewage Works

A Scheduled Monument in Oswestry Rural, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.8387 / 52°50'19"N

Longitude: -3.0375 / 3°2'14"W

OS Eastings: 330210.309409

OS Northings: 327305.141058

OS Grid: SJ302273

Mapcode National: GBR 74.T6MV

Mapcode Global: WH89X.9XT4

Entry Name: Wat's Dyke, 380m long section, immediately east of the Sewage Works

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1937

Last Amended: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020616

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33873

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Oswestry Rural

Built-Up Area: Croesowallt

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Maesbury St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of part of the
boundary known as Wat's Dyke. This section is 380m long and runs to the
east of the Sewage Works on the western side of the Maesbury Road. The
Dyke consists of a low bank, eroded through ploughing in the past, about
0.9m high and spread to 15m wide at the base. On the west side is a
shallow ditch, about 5m wide. At the north end the remains have been
truncated by the construction of the entrance to the sewage works with a
concrete pad for car parking and hard standing for buildings. At the south
end the remains have been truncated by the construction of drains for the
outfall of the works into the River Morda. There are further stretches of
Wat's Dyke to the north and to the south of this section, which are the
subject of separate schedulings.

Fence posts and a stile 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

Wat's Dyke is a linear earthwork boundary 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 borders between England and Wales, and
it is clear that both dykes were constructed to defend land on the eastern
side from incursions coming from the west.

The earthwork bank and ditch rans 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 Offa's Dyke, although it fulfilled the
same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly in control of
the 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 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 Dyke 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

All known lengths of Wat's Dyke where significant archaeological deposits
are known to survive are considered to be nationally important.

This 380m long section of Wat's Dyke immediately east of the sewage works,
survives well and has a high public profile since there is public access
to the remains and the bank is clearly visible from the road throughout
all this length. It will provide a source for public rereational enjoyment
and educational interest. Soils buried beneath the bank and at the bottom
of the infilled ditch will contain evidence for the construction of the
Dyke and the use of the land at the time it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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