Cross-dyke on Barrister's Plain, 800m south east of Narnell's Rock
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
- Church Stretton
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 42594 92742
Reasons for Designation
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.
The cross-dyke on Barrister's Plain is a particularly good example of its class which survives largely intact and undisturbed. It will retain archaeological material within the deposits of the bank and ditch and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed will be sealed on the old land surface beneath the bank and in the ditch fill. The monument is one of several cross-dyke structures which occur in similar ridge top situations on the Long Mynd, often in close association with other monuments of the same period. Considered as a group they contribute valuable information towards an understanding of the intensity of settlement and nature of land use of this area of upland during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.
The monument includes a univallate cross-dyke situated on Barrister's Plain, a
narrow saddle between Round Hill to the north-west and Grindle Hill to the
south-east. The dyke is visible as a well defined linear bank of earth and
stone construction 170m long, averaging 5.5m wide and 0.6m high, with a
flanking ditch on its north-west side 3m wide and 0.4m deep. The earthworks
are orientated north-east to south-west, cutting across the line of the ridge
top at its narrowest point. The bank tails off down the sides of the hill at
either end to link the precipitous north and south scarps of the spur; the
ditch fades out as the bank ends. The bank is lowered between 19m and 28m from
the southern end, possibly the result of slighting at some time in the past. A
trackway 4m wide crosses the ditch and cuts through the bank some 66m from the
southern end of the dyke. Although this appears modern, it could represent the
original position of a passage through the dyke.
The structure is clearly not of a defensive nature, being too slight and
overlooked from both sides. However, it effectively isolates the eastern tip
of the spur, `Grindle Hill', from the main body of the hill to the west and
would have functioned as part of a system of land management during the Late
Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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