Offa's Dyke: section 170m south-east of Fron
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Location Description:
- Centred on NGR SJ 25916 27065
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Location Description:
- Centred on NGR SJ 25916 27065
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- Oswestry Rural
- National Grid Reference:
The earthworks and buried remains of a 132m long section of Offa's Dyke, 170m east of Fron. It runs parallel with the west side of Chapel Lane as the road approaches the village of Trefonen.
Reasons for Designation
The section of Offa’s Dyke 170m SE of Fron, Chapel Lane, Trefonen is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
Rarity: this section represents part of a significant frontier work dating back to the early medieval period; Offa’s Dyke is considered to be the largest and most complete purpose-built earthwork of its type in the country; Survival: it survives comparatively well despite some localised reduction of the earthworks and the infilling of the ditch over time, and it provides important evidence of early medieval territorial patterns and land organisation; Potential: the Dyke will contain archaeological evidence which will increase our understanding of such defensive or demarcatory systems and will contribute to our knowledge of ancient boundaries in the Welsh Marches and in the wider context.
A small number of substantial and defensible boundary features have been identified as frontier works marking territories in the early medieval period. Up to fifty examples are known with a fairly wide distribution across England. They survive in the form of earthworks and as buried features visible as cropmarks or soilmarks on aerial photographs. Evidence from contemporary documentary sources, excavation and survey suggests that they were constructed in the early medieval period between the C5 and C8. Some were relatively ephemeral, perhaps in use for only a few years during periods of local upheaval; others have formed long-lived territorial and/or military boundaries in use for several centuries.
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 C8 during the reign of Offa, the King of Mercia. It is believed to have formed a long-lived territorial, and possibly defensive, boundary between the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms. The route of the Dyke is discernible within the landscape and survives as an earthwork for much of its length. A break of 23km in Herefordshire may represent an area where the Dyke was not built, perhaps because it was not needed here because of political alliances. 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 this frontier system no longer survive visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be accurately identified throughout most of its length.
The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a 132m long section of Offa's Dyke, 170m east of Fron. It runs parallel with the west side of Chapel Lane as the road approaches the village of Trefonen. 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.
DETAILS The section of Dyke immediately north of Chapel View, Trefonen is aligned north-west to south-east and is approximately 132m in length. At its northern end the bank has been cut slightly along its east side by a hollow way created by the road (Chapel Lane) which runs from Fron to Trefonen. Although the bank has been spread by ploughing it is visible here as a slight earthwork with traces of the ditch on the west side which, although largely infilled over time, remains visible. The central part of this section was formerly occupied by a public house known as the Royal Oak which is depicted on the Tithe Map of 1838 but had been demolished by 1901. Although the construction of this building has resulted in the loss of the bank here, the parallel section of ditch is considered to survive below the ground surface. Beyond this, to the south, the profile of the bank has been much reduced by cultivation, but is visible as a wide, spread earthwork and the ditch, although infilled, will survive as a buried feature. To the south the bank has been substantially removed by the construction of the dwelling known as Chapel View.
EXCLUSIONS All fence posts, telegraph poles and the length of stone boundary wall immediately north of Chapel View are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is included.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- SA 238
- Legacy System:
- RSM - OCN
Books and journals
D Hill & M Worthington, , Offa’s Dyke History & Guide, (2003)
J Highham & M J Ryan, , Landscape Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England, (2010)
Kay, K, Richards, , Offa's Dyke Path North, (1995)
A H Archaeological Services, Heritage Assessment on land north of Whitridge Way, Trefonen, Shropshire NGR SJ 258 270, Report Number 46, May 2014,
Dr G Nash, Proposed Development at Whitridge Way Development, Trefonen, Shropshire. Heritage Statement, April 2014,
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