Wat's Dyke: 110m long section, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020561

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1937

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Mar-2002


Ordnance survey map of Wat's Dyke: 110m long section, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Selattyn and Gobowen

National Grid Reference: SJ 30606 34854


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

Reasons for Designation

Wat's Dyke is a linear earthwork boundary marker and defensive rampart. It runs for about 60km from Basingwerk, on the Dee estuary, southwards to Maesbury, near Oswestry. It consists of a large ditch, 5m wide and 2m deep, with a bank on the eastern side. The bank is 10m wide at the base, on average, and its original height was about 2.5m. Wat's Dyke runs parallel to Offa's Dyke which lies to the west, sometimes only 500m away. Both dykes run along the border between England and Wales, and it is clear that both were constructed to defend land on the eastern side from incursions coming from the west.

The earthwork bank and ditch ran without interruption except where the course of a stream or river cut through it. The date of construction has not been accurately determined, but it is considered that it was built at an earlier date than the parallel, late 8th century Offa's Dyke, and it fulfilled the same purpose. The Dyke forms a boundary between lands firmly in control of Anglo-Saxon overlords and lands more recently taken from the native Britains by the English. Subsequently land to the west of the Dyke became part of what is now known as Wales. The line of the Dyke has been shown to mark a division between hidated (assessed for taxation on the basis of the Anglo-Saxon units known as `hides') and unhidated lands (land under a different system of government) at the time of the Domesday records. This suggests that the earthwork was constructed before the `hide' system was put into practice during the reign of King Offa of Mercia. The Dyke was probably built during the period of expansion of the kingdom of Mercia, possibly during the reign of Aethelbald (AD 716-757).

All known lengths of Wat's Dyke where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered to be nationally important.

This 110m long section of Wat's Dyke, 620m south east of Henlle Home Farm is well- preserved, standing up to about half of its original height, with a well-defined ditch to the west. The remains are clearly visible from the public highway and will provide a resource for education and recreational enjoyment for the community. The soils in the infill of the ditch in this section will contain waterlogged remains providing important evidence for the environmental history of the Dyke.


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


The monument includes a section of the earthworks and buried remains of part of the boundary known as Wat's Dyke, which runs for 110m beside the road from Pen y cae to Henlle Hall. The Dyke exists as a bank, about 1.8m high and 15m wide at the base, with a ditch on the western side, 6m wide and 0.7m deep. The ditch has been partly infilled with soil since it was constructed and is now regularly cleaned out to provide drainage for the carriageway beside it to the west. At the north end the remains have been truncated by levelling the garden at The Lodge, and at the south end the remains have been obscured by the buildings for Preeshenlle Farm. There are further sections of Wat's Dyke to the north and south which are the subject of separate schedulings.

All fence posts and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33869

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Worthington, M, Wat's Dyke, (1993)

End of official listing