Scot’s Dike

Scheduled Monument List Entry Ref: 1016860

Grid Tile: NY37SE

OS Map (1800s)

GE Satellite Map

Scot’s Dike in comparison to Hadrian’s Wall

LidAR Map

Eastern Start Point

Dyke: NY 36136 73566

Length (m): 5,583

Orientation: W – E

Class Designation*:

Overall Width (m): 43

Ditch Width (m): 6 (x2)

Bank Width (m): 31

Connectivity**: River

Ditch Shape: ?

Volume (cu.m): 85,534 (@ 1.3 depth)

Man hours to complete: 285,116

Estimated Construction Date: ?

Scheduled Monument Report:

TThe monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Scots’ Dike, a 16th century linear earthwork consisting of banks and ditches, which was constructed to demarcate the border between England and Scotland. The scheduling includes only the earthworks lying to the south of the border. The remains of the dike on the northern side are protected separately under historic monuments legislation for Scotland. The dike originally ran for approximately 5.6km between the rivers Sark and Esk across a tract of land known as the Debateable Land, an area of the borders recognised as one of the most lawless parts of Great Britain for many centuries on account of the constant claims, counterclaims and warfare of its inhabitants. In 1552 Commissioners appointed by Mary, Queen of Scots, and Edward VI met `and agreed on a line to be marked by a ditch and marchstones, the ground to one side whereof was thenceforth to belong to England, and that on the other to belong to Scotland.’ This is the only section of the border to be marked by a linear earthwork. Generally speaking, two parallel trenches were dug and the excavated material thrown into the centre to make a mound thought to have been 1.8m-2.4m high. At some places the mound was doubled with a space of about 9m between the mounds. The original plan called for the erection of a square stone at either end of the dike, with the Arms of England on one face and the Arms of Scotland on another; however, it is not known if these stones were ever erected. No surface remains of Scots’ Dike survive west of the minor road at Craw’s Knowe some 0.2km east of the River Sark. From this point the dike runs eastwards for some 5.4km to the River Esk in varying states of preservation, surviving best as a mound up to 1.3m high and 3.5m wide and flanked either side by ditches. In places earthwork remains of a ditch survive on the north side of the mound only, elsewhere on the south side only. Traces of the double mound are few and elsewhere little surface evidence of mounds is discernible, the course of the monument being represented mainly as a ditch of varying depth and width. At irregular intervals stones have been set up on top of the mound. These are of red sandstone, stand approximately 0.7m high, and are thought to be 19th century replacements for original boundary markers which have been removed. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all fence posts, gateposts and telegraph poles, the A7 trunk road, Marchbank Cottage, Border Cottage, Orchard View and its stable, and all outbuildings, paths, flagged, tarmaced and gravelled surfaces associated with these three dwellings; the ground beneath all these features is, however, included.


A perfect example of a BORDER and POLITICAL earthwork