Ancient Monuments

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Offa's Dyke: section 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Tidenham, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.6361 / 51°38'10"N

Longitude: -2.6595 / 2°39'34"W

OS Eastings: 354456.525572

OS Northings: 193240.191456

OS Grid: ST544932

Mapcode National: GBR JM.85RS

Mapcode Global: VH87T.V4DL

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020641

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34856

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Tidenham

Built-Up Area: Sedbury

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Tidenham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a section of Offa's
Dyke 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm. Offa's Dyke generally consists of
a bank up to 3.5m high with an intermittent ditch to the west and quarry
pits to the east. In places Offa's Dyke was strengthened by additional
earthworks, namely a berm between the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp
bank on the western lip of the ditch.
This 170m long section of the Dyke is visible as a terrace, standing to a
maximum height of 3m at its western extent and 1m at its eastern extent,
falling over a distance of about 10m. The face of the terrace is very regular
and has been subject to landscaping, except at its eastern end where some
dumping appears to have taken place on the face of the monument. In 1842
Ormerod noted that the bank could be clearly traced along this length, and
that the land to the north was regularly cultivated. In 1996 a series of
watching briefs were undertaken during the cutting of a service trench through
the terrace, during the course of which a clay deposit was revealed which was
interpreted as a surviving portion of the continuation of Offa's Dyke which is
visible to the east of this section. Behind the clay bank a colluvial deposit
was observed which is likely to relate to the cultivation of the fields on
which the houses of Mercian Way were constructed.
All metal railings, the signposts, street lamps, and the steps cut into
the terrace and path surfaces laid along the top and bottom of the terrace
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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Offa's Dyke is the longest linear earthwork in Britain, approximately 220km,
running from Treuddyn, near Mold, to Sedbury on the Severn estuary. It was
constructed towards the end of the eighth century AD by the Mercian king Offa,
and is believed to have formed a long-lived territorial, and possibly
defensive, boundary between the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh
The Dyke is not continuous and consists of a number of discrete lengths
separated by gaps of up to 23km. It is clear from the nature of certain
sections that differences in the scale and character of adjoining portions
were the result of separate gangs being employed on different lengths. Where
possible, natural topographic features such as slopes or rivers were utilised,
and the form of Offa's Dyke is therefore clearly related to the topography.
Along most of its length it consists of a bank with a ditch to the west.
Excavation has indicated that at least some lengths of the bank had a vertical
outer face of either laid stonework or turf revetment. The ditch generally
seems to have been used to provide most of the bank material, although there
is also evidence in some locations of shallow quarries. In places, a berm
divides the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank may be present on the lip
of the ditch.
Offa's Dyke now survives in various states of preservation in the form of
earthworks and, where sections have been levelled and infilled, as buried
features. Although some sections of the frontier system no longer survive
visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be accurately
identified throughout most of its length. In view of its contribution towards
the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all sections of Offa's Dyke
exhibiting significant archaeological remains are considered worthy of

The section of Offa's Dyke 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm survives
well. The bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface,
predating the construction of the monument, and will contain environmental
evidence in the form of organic remains which will relate both to the Dyke and
to the landscape within which it was constructed. The bank will also contain
evidence relating to the methods of construction of the monument and the
building materials used.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hill, D, Offa's Dyke Project: 6-7 Mercian Way, (1996)
Hoyle, J, Vallender, J, Offa's Dyke in Gloucestershire: Management Survay, (1997)
Ormerod, G, 'Archaeologia' in An account of some Ancient Remains, , Vol. 29, (1842), 5-31
Gifford and Partners, Report on an archaeological watching brief at Mercian Way, 1996,
Hoyle, J, Archaeological watching brief at Mercian Way, Sedbury, 1996,

Source: Historic England

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