Linear boundary earthwork 370m east of Oscar Park Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019340

Date first listed: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Linear boundary earthwork 370m east of Oscar Park Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 09-Dec-2018 at 22:45:36.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Rievaulx


National Grid Reference: SE 57872 87644


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval boundary dykes are substantial linear earthworks, typically comprising of a bank and ditch or double bank and ditch. They are recognised as earthworks, as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. They are sometimes referred to in early documents. In earthwork form they can be confused with prehistoric dykes, and indeed some may be prehistoric in origin, reused at a later date. Medieval boundary dykes were constructed throughout the Anglo-Saxon and post-Norman Conquest periods as boundary markers for large estates, townships or other areas of the landscape. Some had an additional defendsive or other role which can sometimes be identified by the specialist design of the earthwork. An example of this are the boundaries to medieval deer parks which are also known as deer leaps, their asymmetric design in cross-section allowed deer to pass into the park but not escape again. Medieval boundary dykes required considerable investment in labour to construct. They are of considerable importance for the analysis of contemporary settlement and land use patterns. Relatively few examples have survived as earthworks to the present day and hence all well preserved examples will be identified as being nationally important and will merit statutory protection. The linear boundary earthwork, 370m east of Oscar Park Farm is very well preserved. Its importance is heightened by its association with Newlass, a grange of Rievaulx Abbey, with its very well preserved core adjacent to New Leys Farm 1km to the south.


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


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of a substantial boundary bank and ditch which runs north-south, 370m east of Oscar Park Farm. This is identified as a medieval boundary dyke associated with Newlass, one of the monastic granges of Rievaulx Abbey. The northern end of the dyke peters out just south of a field wall which marks the former edge of the moorland to the north. It extends southwards with a western bank and eastern ditch, following the eastern side of a slight fold in the hillside. After about 450m it bends south eastwards, running along the eastern side of Moll Dawson's Slack. Over the next 150m, Moll Dawson's Slack becomes a steeper sided gully and the dyke then bends back southwards to end in the base of the gully which effectively continues the boundary to the SSE. The boundary dyke is formed by a bank typically 4m-5m wide, rounded in profile and up to 1.2m high, with a ditch immediately to its east typically 4m-5m wide and 1m deep. In places where the bank has been cut through by later trackways, the bank appears to have an earth and rubble stone construction with no evidence of facing stones or for a berm between bank and ditch. All the material for the bank could be up cast from the ditch, probably with no spoil left over especially as there is no real evidence for a second bank on the far side of the ditch. At the far southern end of the dyke, there is an apparent second bank, but this has been produced by the steepness of the hillside and the presence of a hollowed footpath on the uphill, east side of the ditch. On the east side of the ditch for the northern 350m of the dyke there is a drystone wall which in places is ruinous. The standing portions of this wall are not thought to be of great antiquity and are not included within the scheduling, however the foundations of the wall, which may include footings of a medieval wall, are included. The monument is thought to be medieval in date and is interpreted as part of the boundary around Newlass monastic grange, a sheep farm owned by Rievaulx Abbey that was centred on the west side of Moll Dawson's Slack at New Leys Farm, 1km to the south. The earthworks of the core of Newlass grange form a separate scheduling. In form this dyke is very similar to a number of prehistoric boundary dykes on the North York Moors and Tabular Hills, however its location in the landscape is unusual for a prehistoric dyke which would more typically cut across an area of high ground rather than follow a fold in the hillside. The way that the dyke does not extend onto the moorland also suggests that it is not prehistoric. All fence posts, and the above-ground portions of the drystone wall are excluded from the scheduling; however, 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: 32687

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 21

End of official listing