Section of Scots Dike linear boundary north west of High Merrybent


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014799

Date first listed: 26-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Section of Scots Dike linear boundary north west of High Merrybent
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 14:12:17.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Melsonby

National Grid Reference: NZ 19503 06999


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

Reasons for Designation

Scots Dike is a linear earthwork extending for 14km from the River Swale to the River Tees in North Yorkshire. Significant sections remain visible as upstanding earthworks and indicate that the dyke system had an earthen rampart flanked on the eastern side by a ditch. Where not preserved as an upstanding monument, the dyke is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs and elswhere often survives as a low bank beneath present field boundaries. It was constructed in the post Roman period and encloses an area in the eastern foothills of the Pennines between the two rivers. This area contained wealthy arable and pastoral land as well as some of the mineral resources of the northern Pennines. Linear earthworks were used to divide territory for military, social, economic and political purposes, often using natural features such as rivers and watersheds to define an area. Scots Dike was built to consolidate territorial and economic units in response to changing political circumstances during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. These were brought about, at least in part, by the arrival of the Anglians in northern England. Fewer than 50 examples of linear earthworks of post Roman date have been identified in England. As a rare monument type of considerable importance to the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all surviving examples are identified as being of national importance. Although no longer visible as an upstanding earthwork this section of the Scots Dike will still retain important archaeological remains, particularly in the infilled ditch, and will provide information about the development of the landscape in the post Roman period.


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


The monument includes a section of the linear boundary known as Scots Dike lying on Gatherley Moor. The monument includes a bank and ditch which has been reduced by agricultural activity and is no longer visible as an earthwork. However remains of the bank and infilled ditch are preserved as buried features clearly visible on aerial photographs. The monument is orientated north to south, extends for 260m and is up to 20m wide. To the north the monument ends at a field boundary but continues again c.2.5km to the north; to the south the monument is truncated by a quarry, now infilled. Two other sections of dyke to the south are the subject of separate schedulings. The surface of the track and all modern fences and walls are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath 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: 28254

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
RCHME, , Scots Dyke, (1986)
Haselgrove, C, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North' in Indigenous settlement patterns in the Tyne-Tees lowlands, (1982)
Maclaughlan, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Roman Roads Camps and Earthworks in the North Riding, , Vol. VOL 6, (1849), 221-225

End of official listing