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Offa's Dyke: section 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Mainstone, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.4747 / 52°28'29"N

Longitude: -3.0881 / 3°5'17"W

OS Eastings: 326188.588576

OS Northings: 286869.233738

OS Grid: SO261868

Mapcode National: GBR B2.K4F4

Mapcode Global: VH762.F295

Entry Name: Offa's Dyke: section 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1933

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020896

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32596

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Mainstone

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Mainstone

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a section of the
linear boundary known as Offa's Dyke 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm.
Offa's Dyke generally consists of a bank, up to 3.5m high, with an
intermittent parallel ditch and quarry pits in places. It was strengthened
in some areas by additional earthworks, namely a berm between the bank and
ditch and a counterscarp bank on the outer lip of the ditch.

In this section the Dyke runs for some 860m from a point 80m south of
Churchtown Cottage to the entrance to Middle Knuck Farm. Immediately to the
north of this section there is an 80m gap in the Dyke on the valley floor at
Churchtown where the earthworks have been largely destroyed and are not,
therefore, included in the scheduling. The Dyke was last recorded in this area
by Sir Cyril Fox in 1928.

At the northern end of the section the Dyke runs uphill as far as the road
which crosses Knuck Bank. Throughout this section the bank is about 3m high
with a well defined ditch and counterscarp bank. The road turns at this point
to follow the eastern edge of the bank for 130m before cutting through the
Dyke and continuing westwards.

Beyond the road, Offa's Dyke continues southwards to the gateway at Middle
Knuck Farm. The earthworks are 24m wide on average throughout this southern

Further sections of Offa's Dyke approximately 180m to the north and 6m to the
south of the monument are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and stiles and the surface of the road 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

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 430m north east of Middle Knuck Farm survives
well, particularly in the section which runs through Churchtown Wood, with
the bank standing up to 3m high, with a well-defined ditch and counterscarp
bank. The Dyke will preserve information about its construction, such as
marking out trenches, providing insights into its use and the skills of
the people who built it. Artefactual evidence will also provide
information about the Dyke's changing use over time. In addition,
environmental evidence such as pollen and seeds within the fills of the
ditch and in the buried ground surface below the bank will provide
evidence of farming practices and the local landscape. This section is
accessible to the public and as such is a valuable recreational and
educational resource.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, C, Offa's Dyke, (1955), 157
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 18
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995), 19

Source: Historic England

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