Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric linear boundary and associated features centred 500m north east of High Bride Stones

A Scheduled Monument in Allerston, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3154 / 54°18'55"N

Longitude: -0.656 / 0°39'21"W

OS Eastings: 487528.397438

OS Northings: 491925.612902

OS Grid: SE875919

Mapcode National: GBR RLVJ.ST

Mapcode Global: WHGBP.WSSL

Entry Name: Prehistoric linear boundary and associated features centred 500m north east of High Bride Stones

Scheduled Date: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021099

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35453

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 towards the northern edge of the Tabular Hills.Also included are a segment of post-medieval linear boundary which is superimposed upon the prehistoric boundary,the surviving part of a cross dyke which intersects with the post-medieval boundary segment at its northern end and four round cairns which are adjacent to the cross dyke.The prehistoric boundary runs for approximately 930m in a NNW to SSE direction,between the scarp edge of the Tabular Hills and the head of Bridestone Griff.It has a ditch which runs between two parallel banks of earth and stone.The ditch is 0.5m-1.5m deep,measured from the tops of the flanking banks which stand 0.5m-1m high.The boundary has an overall maximum width of 8m.The post-medieval boundary segment overlies the prehistoric boundary and marks the modern boundary between the parishes of Lockton and Allerston.At its northern end, this segment extends for 30m beyond the terminal of the prehistoric boundary;the post-medieval boundary continues beyond this segment,running down the steep scarp slope.This part of the boundary segment has a ditch with a single bank on its western side with an overall width of 3m.The ditch is 0.3m deep and the bank is 0.3m high.At its southern end,the boundary segment continues for 480m as far as the head of Jonathan Gill.This part of the segment has the same form as the prehistoric boundary,although the earthworks are shallower with the banks 0.3m to 0.8m high and the ditch 0.3m deep measured to the tops of the banks.It has an overall maximum width of 7m.In its central section, the boundary segment is largely indistinguishable from the prehistoric boundary,which was recut to form the post-medieval boundary.However,in places there is an additional low bank on the western side or an increased width to the eastern bank as a result of the post-medieval modifications,and these give the final form of the combined boundaries an overall maximum width of 10m.For a 470m length within this section,there is a low turf wall on top of the eastern bank which is thought to be a later augmentation of the post-medieval boundary.The prehistoric boundary and the overlying post-medieval boundary segment are breached in three places by tracks and also by a footpath.The cross dyke runs north east to south west from the top of the steep scarp slope towards the head of Dovedale Griff.It survives as an earthwork 65m long;the cross dyke originally continued to the south west of this length,but has been levelled by modern agricultural activities and is no longer visible.The surviving earthworks have an overall maximum width of 13m,which consists of a ditch flanked by two parallel banks of earth and stone.The ditch is up to 0.8m deep,measured from the tops of the banks,and the banks are up to 0.4m high.The cross dyke is breached by a track;to the north east of this track,the bank and ditch of the post-medieval boundary segment overlie and cut the earthworks of the cross dyke.On the north west side of the cross dyke there are four round cairns which are in an approximately linear arrangement close to the top of the scarp slope.The southern cairn lies immediately adjacent to the cross dyke.The central cairns lie 7m apart from each other at a distance of 19m to the north west of the southern cairn.The northern cairn lies 31m to the NNW of the southern cairn.The cairns have low stony mounds 3m-5m in diameter and are masked by soil and vegetation in which they have become partly buried over the years.The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric boundaries which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, including burials and field systems.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.All fence posts along modern boundaries crossing and running along the monument and the surfaces of all tracks crossing the monument,are excluded from the scheduling,although the ground beneath all these features is included.MAP EXTRACY 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.Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks.They generally occur in upland situations,running across ridges and spurs.They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs,or as combinations of both.The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age,although they may have been re-used later.Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers,probably demarcating land allotment within communities,although they may also have been used as trackways,cattle droveways or defensive earthworks.Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period.They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age.Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age(c.2000-700 BC).They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials.These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists.In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.Often occupying prominent locations,cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape.They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands.Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.Despite limited disturbance,the prehistoric linear boundary and associated features centred 500m north east of High Bride Stones are in a good state of preservation.Important environmental evidence,which can be used to date the boundaries and cross dyke 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 prehistoric boundary and the cross dyke belong to a network of prehistoric boundaries,dividing the area to the south of the scarp edge of the Tabular Hills,between Newton Dale in the west and Stain Dale in the east.It is thought to represent a system of territorial land division which was constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds and it is one of many such groups found on the Tabular Hills. Networks such as these offer important scope for the study of land use for social,ritual and agricultural purposes during the prehistoric period.Stratigraphic relationships will survive between the prehistoric linear boundary and the cross dyke and between these two prehistoric boundaries and the post-medieval boundary segment and will provide evidence for their sequence of construction and development.The post-medieval boundary segment is a well-preserved and documented 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 is a sample of a more extensive network of post-medieval boundaries within the parish of Allerston.The continued use of many of the prehistoric boundaries during the post-medieval period demonstrates their importance in the landscape.The spatial relationships and difference in form between the boundaries of these two periods demonstrate the changing character of landscape division over time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 33
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 33-39
Winchester, A J L, The Harvest of the Hills, (2000), 26-51
Title: 2nd Edition 25" Ordnance Survey sheet 76/2
Source Date: 1912

Source: Historic England

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