Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric linear boundary on Stonygate Moor, 550m west of Warren House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Allerston, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2497 / 54°14'58"N

Longitude: -0.6678 / 0°40'4"W

OS Eastings: 486896.253741

OS Northings: 484597.657689

OS Grid: SE868845

Mapcode National: GBR RMS9.6C

Mapcode Global: WHGC2.QF5Z

Entry Name: Prehistoric linear boundary on Stonygate Moor, 550m west of Warren House Farm

Scheduled Date: 5 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020695

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35170

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Allerston

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Allerston St John

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a prehistoric linear boundary which is situated at
the edge of Dalby Forest, on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills.
Also included is a segment of post-medieval linear boundary which is
superimposed upon the western side of the prehistoric linear boundary.
The prehistoric boundary runs NNW to SSE between Sand Dale and the head of
Weas Dale, turning more to the south at the southern end. It has a ditch
up to 3m wide which runs between two banks of earth and stone, each of
which measures up to 3.5m in width. The eastern bank stands up to 0.6m
high and the ditch is up to 0.9m deep from the top of it. The eastern bank
is only intermittent, having been damaged in places by forestry
activities. In the southern half of the monument the eastern bank and the
ditch have been levelled and filled in as a result of ploughing in an
arable field and are no longer visible as earthworks. Below ground remains
of both the bank and ditch do survive here and are visible on aerial
photographs. The western bank is higher and more pronounced than the
eastern bank because it has been augmented by the construction of the
post-medieval boundary on top of it. It has an overall maximum height of
1m. At the northern end of the monument, the prehistoric boundary turns
sharply to the north east and terminates after a further 5m; the
post-medieval boundary segment projects beyond this point. The
post-medieval boundary is used to mark the modern division between the
parishes of Allerston and Wilton and continues to the north and south
beyond the monument at either end.
The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries
which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, particularly
burials. The post-medieval boundary segment is a sample of the network of
post-medieval boundaries which were constructed from the 17th century
onwards, to enclose the wastes in the township of Allerston.
The fence which runs along the western edge of the western bank and the
derelict wall which runs north east to south west across the monument at
the edge of the arable field 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

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been re-used later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance
for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The eastern Tabular Hills is an area which has many networks of
prehistoric land boundaries. These are thought to represent systems of
territorial land division which were constructed to augment natural
divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds. The Dalby
Forest and Scamridge areas have a particular concentration which is
thought to have originated in the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age,
earlier than most other prehistoric boundary systems on the Tabular Hills.
The networks within this concentration, and many of their component
boundaries, are notably complex and are of considerable importance for
understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern
Despite limited disturbance, the prehistoric linear boundary on Stonygate
Moor, 550m west of Warren House Farm has survived well. Important
environmental evidence which can be used to date the boundary and
determine contemporary land use will be preserved within the lowest ditch
fills. Evidence for earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground
surface beneath the banks. The lowest ditch fills of the plough-levelled
section will also preserve valuable environmental evidence. The
stratigraphic relationship between the post-medieval boundary segment and
the prehistoric boundary will survive and provide evidence for the date of
the later reuse of the earlier boundary.
The post-medieval boundary segment is an example of early post-medieval
enclosure on the Tabular Hills. It illustrates the process of physical
division between parishes of formerly common uplands, which took place in
the late medieval and early post-medieval periods and it provides a sample
of a more extensive network of post-medieval boundaries within the parish
of Allerston. This network is superimposed upon a pattern of prehistoric
land division. The continued use of many of these boundaries during the
post-medieval period demonstrates their importance in the landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Winchester, A J L, The Harvest of the Hills, (2000), 26-51
DP AQ 15-16, (1981)

Source: Historic England

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