Offa's Dyke: section 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020641

Date first listed: 03-Sep-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Offa's Dyke: section 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Gloucestershire

District: Forest of Dean (District Authority)

Parish: Tidenham

National Grid Reference: ST 54456 93238

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Offa's Dyke is the longest linear earthwork in Britain, approximately 220km, running from Treuddyn, near Mold, to Sedbury on the Severn estuary. It was constructed towards the end of the eighth century AD by the Mercian king Offa, and is believed to have formed a long-lived territorial, and possibly defensive, boundary between the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms. The Dyke is not continuous and consists of a number of discrete lengths separated by gaps of up to 23km. It is clear from the nature of certain sections that differences in the scale and character of adjoining portions were the result of separate gangs being employed on different lengths. Where possible, natural topographic features such as slopes or rivers were utilised, and the form of Offa's Dyke is therefore clearly related to the topography. Along most of its length it consists of a bank with a ditch to the west. Excavation has indicated that at least some lengths of the bank had a vertical outer face of either laid stonework or turf revetment. The ditch generally seems to have been used to provide most of the bank material, although there is also evidence in some locations of shallow quarries. In places, a berm divides the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank may be present on the lip of the ditch. Offa's Dyke now survives in various states of preservation in the form of earthworks and, where sections have been levelled and infilled, as buried features. Although some sections of the frontier system no longer survive visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be accurately identified throughout most of its length. In view of its contribution towards the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all sections of Offa's Dyke exhibiting significant archaeological remains are considered worthy of protection.

The section of Offa's Dyke 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm survives well. The bank will have preserved part of the original ground surface, predating the construction of the monument, and will contain environmental evidence in the form of organic remains which will relate both to the Dyke and to the landscape within which it was constructed. The bank will also contain evidence relating to the methods of construction of the monument and the building materials used.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a section of Offa's Dyke 130m north west of Pennsylvania Farm. Offa's Dyke generally consists of a bank up to 3.5m high with an intermittent ditch to the west and quarry pits to the east. In places Offa's Dyke was strengthened by additional earthworks, namely a berm between the bank and ditch, and a counterscarp bank on the western lip of the ditch. This 170m long section of the Dyke is visible as a terrace, standing to a maximum height of 3m at its western extent and 1m at its eastern extent, falling over a distance of about 10m. The face of the terrace is very regular and has been subject to landscaping, except at its eastern end where some dumping appears to have taken place on the face of the monument. In 1842 Ormerod noted that the bank could be clearly traced along this length, and that the land to the north was regularly cultivated. In 1996 a series of watching briefs were undertaken during the cutting of a service trench through the terrace, during the course of which a clay deposit was revealed which was interpreted as a surviving portion of the continuation of Offa's Dyke which is visible to the east of this section. Behind the clay bank a colluvial deposit was observed which is likely to relate to the cultivation of the fields on which the houses of Mercian Way were constructed. All metal railings, the signposts, street lamps, and the steps cut into the terrace and path surfaces laid along the top and bottom of the terrace 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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34856

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Hill, D, Offa's Dyke Project: 6-7 Mercian Way, (1996)
Hoyle, J, Vallender, J, Offa's Dyke in Gloucestershire: Management Survay, (1997)
Ormerod, G, 'Archaeologia' in An account of some Ancient Remains, , Vol. 29, (1842), 5-31
Other
Gifford and Partners, Report on an archaeological watching brief at Mercian Way, 1996,
Hoyle, J, Archaeological watching brief at Mercian Way, Sedbury, 1996,

End of official listing