Section of the Cleave Dyke system on Arden Little Moor known as Steeple Cross Dyke including the Steeple Cross boundary stone


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010533

Date first listed: 04-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Section of the Cleave Dyke system on Arden Little Moor known as Steeple Cross Dyke including the Steeple Cross boundary stone
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:29:59.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Boltby

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Kepwick

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Hawnby


National Grid Reference: SE 50262 90348


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The Cleave Dyke System is the most westerly of a series of dyke systems on the Tabular Hills of north east Yorkshire. The name has been given to a series of linear ditches and banks stretching north-south over 9km parallel with and close to the western scarp of the Hambleton Hills. The system was constructed between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age to augment the natural division of the terrain by river valleys and watersheds. Significant stretches remain visible as upstanding earthworks; elsewhere it can be recognised as a cropmark on aerial photographs. The system formed a prehistoric territorial boundary in an area largely given over to pastoralism; the impressive scale of the earthworks displays the corporate prestige of their builders. In some instances the boundaries have remained in use to the present day. Linear boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This section of the Cleave Dyke system is preserved as a prominent earthwork for most of its length, forming a very clear division across the landscape. Significant remains are preserved which will retain important information about the date and function of the monument, and thereby contribute towards the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area during the prehistoric period. The Steeple Cross is one of a group of medieval crosses on the North Yorkshire Moors. In addition to serving the function reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, crosses were also erected to mark property boundaries or to serve as places for public proclamation and penance. Such crosses contribute to our understanding of medieval religious customs. All well presrved examples, and especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a section of the prehistoric linear boundary system on the Hambleton Hills, known as the Cleave Dyke. The monument extends for 1550m westwards from the head of Stony Gill Hole terminating at a valley head cutting the scarp face near Steeple Cross. Beyond this point to the west the dyke has been levelled by forestry activity although it would originally have continued to meet the line of another dyke in the system. The monument is a prominent linear earthwork comprising a ditch which lies between two banks. The ditch is 3.5m wide and 0.9m deep whilst the northern bank is 3.5m wide and 0.5m high and the southern one 2.5m wide 0.3m high. Near the Steeple Cross the bank has been levelled by the Hambleton Road but remains of the bank and the ditch will remain preserved as a buried feature beneath the road. The Steeple Cross comprises a short section of cross shaft standing in the ground. It has been significantly eroded and has an irregular profile. It is c.0.45m by 0.5m square, standing 0.7m proud of the ground. This dyke is part of a wider system of earthworks continuing for 9km north- south along the western edge of the Hambleton Hills. Shorter east-west boundaries linked valley heads to the main dyke and thus divided the terrain into discrete units for agricultural and social purposes. The dyke is associated with earlier round barrows which also marked the division of land. Together the monuments on this part of the Hambleton Hills provide important evidence of territorial organisation and the development of settled agricultural practices. The wall along the side of the monument and grouse butts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 25597

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Graham, L, M, , 'The Crosses of the North York Moors' in The Crosses of the North York Moors, (1993), 15
Pacitto 30/1:2,

End of official listing