Offa's Dyke: section NW of Holme Marsh extending 615yds (560m) to the railway
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1001735
Date first listed: 05-Jun-1935
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 33493 55016
Part of the medieval frontier defence called Offa’s Dyke 500m west of The Holme.
Reasons for Designation
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 kingdoms. 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 protection.
Despite reduction in the height of the earthworks through cultivation the part of the medieval frontier defence called Offa’s Dyke 500m west of The Holme survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, and maintenance, social, political, economic, territorial and strategic significance and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes part of a medieval frontier defence situated across the wide but shallow valley of the Curl Brook. This section of the dyke survives differentially as a low bank of up to 6.5m wide with a buried western ditch. Throughout its length the scale of Offa’s Dyke varies but on average the bank is more than 2m high and the overall width including the associated ‘Wales–facing’ ditch (on occasion there are ditches on both sides) is around 18m wide. Originally thought to have been built to divide the Anglo-Saxon state of Mercia from the Welsh principalities Offa’s Dyke extends from near Prestatyn on the Clwyd sea coast in the north to Sedbury Cliff in Gloucestershire on the River Severn in the south a total distance of some 149 miles and at least 81 miles of the dyke survive. Probably military in origin, the dyke is mentioned in deeds of the 13th century in England and in Welsh writings of Asser of St David’s where it is attributed to King Offa (AD 757 – 796). There is excavated evidence for its being of post Roman date and it has been the subject of several surveys including one carried out by Manchester University on behalf of the Royal Archaeological Institute Linear Earthworks Research Project in 1984.
Offa’s Dyke is protected by a number of separate schedulings.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 53
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Herefordshire SMR 717 and 5577
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing