Medieval dyke known as War Dike


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020118

Date first listed: 20-Jul-2001


Ordnance survey map of Medieval dyke known as War Dike
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 18:46:03.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Stainton Dale


National Grid Reference: SE 99438 99960


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

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks, typically between 2.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside or parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks, as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that the period of construction of many cross dykes spanned the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age. Others are known to have had a function in the Middle Ages; without excavation it is difficult to determine whether this indicates reuse of earlier dykes or the construction of new ones during the medieval period. Current information favours the view that they were used as boundary markers, probably demarcating some form of land allotment, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which indicate how land was divided up, whether in the prehistoric or medieval period. They are of considerable importance for the analysis of contemporary settlement and land use patterns. Relatively few examples have survived to the present day and hence all well preserved examples will merit statutory protection.

This section of the War Dike survives well and significant evidence of its original form and function will survive.


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


The monument includes the earthwork remains of a dyke, known as War Dike, located near the eastern coast of the North York Moors overlooking the sea to the north east. The dyke is a medieval estate boundary. From documentary sources dating from 1184 it has been identified as the boundary known as the Steindic. This formed part of the boundary to land granted to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem and later to Bridlington Priory. It is one of a series of boundary features in the area which divided the land into discrete territories. Some of these divisions have their origins in the prehistoric period but continued in use into the medieval period and beyond. The dyke extends from north east to south west for a distance of 150m. It includes a substantial bank up to 5m wide and 1m high with a ditch lying to the west. The ditch measures 1m in width. At the northern end the dyke originally extended north east to the cliff edge some 150m away and at the southern end the dyke originally continued south east to the head of Staintondale. However, these further sections of the dyke have been reduced by agricultural and other activity and the full nature and extent of any surviving remains is not yet known. They are not therefore included in the scheduling. All fences and the wall along the top of the dyke 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: 34821

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 65-68
Vyner, B, (2000)

End of official listing