Scots' Dike

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Alternative Names Scotch Dyke Plantation; Scotsdike Plantation
Site Type LINEAR EARTHWORK
Canmore ID 67548
Site Number NY37SE 6
NGR NY 3872 7319
Council DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
Parish CANONBIE
Former Region DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
Former District ANNANDALE AND ESKDALE
Former County DUMFRIES-SHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR
NGR Desc NY 3872 7319 to NY 3307 7367
Form Cropmark

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Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

NY37SE 6 3872 7319 to 3307 7367

(NY 3307 7367 to NY 3872 7319) Scots' Dike (NR)
OS 1:10000 (1976)

Extends onto map sheet NY37SW.

Scots' Dike is only traceable within the Scotsdike Plantation and extends from NY 3346 7396 to NY 3850 7325. It consists of a bank, with slight ditches on either side, which varies in width from 5.8m at the W end to 3.3m at the E end and stands to a maximum height of 0.8m. Stretches of the boundary have been destroyed and in places the ditches have silted up while elsewhere they have been re-cut. The two terminal stones were not located although spaced along the centre of the bank are small unmarked boundary stones.
Visited by OS (JP) 29 July 1970.

No change to the previous report.
Visited by OS (JP) 20 February 1973.

In 1552 the Scottish-English border was defined by an earthwork drawn between the Rivers Esk and Sark. The greater part of this earthwork, which comprises a bank and flanking ditches, can be seen in Scotsdike Plantation (NY 334 739 to 385 732) but the E and W ends cannot be traced. The terminal points were marked by square stones bearing the royal arms of England and Scotland.
RCAHMS 1920; RCAHMS 1981, visited 1980.
T H B Graham 1912; J L Mack 1923.

Linear earthwork and national boundary.
RCAHMS 1997.

Scots' Dike was visited by English Heritage field investigators in June 1999 as part of the National SAMs Survey Pilot Project. The monument lies at the centre of a belt of woodland, comprising spruce plantation to the north of the dyke and deciduous woodland to its south; although parts of the plantation have been felled recently the dense vegetation rendered detailed survey impossible and investigation was limited to surface examination of the dyke. The remains of the earthwork, which extends for 5.25km, between NY 3346 7396 and NY 3850 7325, consist mainly of flat-topped bank flanked by a ditch on either side. As noted by the OS field Investigator (29 July 1970), the form and preservation of these features varies considerably along the length of the dyke and it would appear that little of the monument survive in its original form but its course is preserved in later boundaries and drainage ditches. Long sections of the ditches, especially the northern ditch, have been re-cut to provide drainage for the conifer plantation, although in places the modern drainage appears to have been cut through the centre of the dyke. Elsewhere, for example at NY 3490 7385, the feature has been almost plough-levelled, the ditches having disappeared and the bank surviving as little more than a rise in the ground. Between NY 3544 7375 and NY 3570 7370, where the Glenzier Beck crosses the course of the dike, there are no traces of the earthwork; whether it has simply not survived or whether the dyke was ever constructed across the slack is not apparent. At a number of points along the length of the dyke - most notably at approximately NY 34457390 and NY 36357355 - there is a disjointure in the earthwork which is suggestive of a shift in the line of the original boundary, perhaps due to later land use. At the extreme western end of the dyke, between approximately NY 3346 7396 and NY 3390 7392, a second, much slighter bank and ditch lies to the south of the main earthwork but is nothing more than later drainage.
The terminal stones, referred to by the OS (29 July 1970), were not located, but the uninscribed boundary stones remain in situ. The course of the dyke between the western end of Scotsdike Plantation and the River Sark could not be traced on the ground but it may have followed the extant field boundary to the south of Craw's Knowe Farm.
Visited by RCHME (A Lax) 7 June 1999

The Scot's Dike is recorded in the English National Archaeological Record as NY37SE 14.
Information from RCAHMS (PM) 5 February 2001.

 
Books and References

Graham, T H B (1912) 'The Debatable Land', Trans Cumberland Westmorland Antiq Archaeol Soc, New, vol.12
Page(s): 47-8

Mack, J L (1923) 'The Old Scots Dike: its construction, A.D. 1552, and its destruction, 1917-1920', Trans Hawick Archaeol Soc
Page(s): 3-5

RCAHMS (1920) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Seventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Dumfries, Edinburgh
Page(s): xviii-xix, 30, no. 48 Held at RCAHMS A.1.1.INV(7)

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Charity SC026749