Section of the Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m south east of St Martin's Priory


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015516

Date first listed: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Section of the Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m south east of St Martin's Priory
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: St. Martin's

National Grid Reference: NZ 17960 00592


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

Reasons for Designation

Scots Dyke is a linear earthwork extending for 14km from the River Tees to south of the River Swale 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 elsewhere 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, economic and political purposes, often using natural features such as rivers and watersheds to define an area. Scots Dyke was built to consolidate territorial and economic units in response to changing political circumstances during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. These changes were brought about, at least in part, by the arrival of the Anglians in northern England. Fewer than 50 examples of linear earthwork boundaries 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. This section of Scots Dyke survives well and will retain significant archaeological remains which will contain important 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 earthwork known as Scots Dyke which extends from the River Tees to south of the River Swale. This section, 250m south east of St Martin's Priory, consists of a bank and flanking ditch extending for a total of 40m west from the disused railway to the A6136 road, and is located on the north facing slope extending down to the River Swale. The dyke comprises an earthen bank up to 1.5m high and 10m wide with the ditch lying to the south. The ditch has been partly infilled and, where it survives as an earthwork, it is 3m wide and 0.5m deep. The dyke is truncated at the west end by the road and modern housing although it continues again in the fields to the south. To the east the dyke is truncated by the railway although it continues again 250m to the north east where it is scheduled as a separate monument.

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: 28299

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
RCHME, , Scots Dyke, (1986)
Maclaughlan, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Roman Roads Camps and Earthworks in the North Riding, , Vol. VOL 6, (1849), 221-225

End of official listing