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Barton upon Humber Town Rampart

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Barton upon Humber.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of North Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Humberside.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TA02712254
Latitude 53.68922° Longitude -0.44611°

Barton upon Humber Town Rampart has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.


Course of an ancient rampart and dyke circumscribing the landward side of Barton at the time of Henry III, and which can still be traced in the Castle Dykes, a rivulet and mill-race at Barton (Brown). Extensive perambulation of the course of this feature as portrayed by White revealed neither extant remains nor other surface confirmation of the route. Mr. Rex Russell (local historian) confirms that the line cannot now be proven. (F1 FDC 12-MAR-63). (PastScape)

TA03 21 (centre). Reputed line of "Castle Dike"-former rampart and dike which enclosed Barton on landward side during the medieval period (Brown 1906, 25-34, fig. 4, Brown 1908, fig. 6). References in a charter by Earl Syman (dated to 1156-61) and in another by Robert de Gaunt (dated to 1186-90) refer to a castle built at Barton by Earl Gilbert (d. 1156). Brown suggests site at TA 0320 2180, CWP at TA 0322 2179, and OSSI at TA 0310 2165. No finds or surviving traces to substantiate any of these sites. (Brown 1906, 30, 98-99, fig. 4; 1908, 5; CWP/OSSI) (Loughlin and Miller).
'The alignment of Castledyke was illustrated in the early twentieth-century, with its eastern limit extending from Pasture Road South to Barrow Road, and then to Caistor Road (Brown, R, 1906, 'Notes on the Earlier History of Barton on Humber Vol 1). The town ditch was delineated at that date as having been on the northern edge of Barrow Road, crossing the line of a small lane which had linked Barrow Road with East Acridge, and then turning on a south-west/north-east alignment; its course would cross the application site. Brown described it leaving Barrow Road and then passing ". ..northwards in a slight curve near the present cemetery until it struck the East Acridge lane at the Queen's Leas. ..".
Brown's plan may have reproduced a plan made in c.1824 by a Mr Rawson, which was referred to in print in 1905 (Tombleson T, 1905, 'Fragments relating to Barton Upon Humber, being papers read before the Literary Institute' 11). That plan was described as showing the line of Castledyke as going "... northward to Barrow Road, up which it goes almost to Mr Cooper's house, then north-east by the fence of Mr Skelton's garden and about halfway down by Mr Markham's fence, then crosses Constable Close. ..".
During the a site visit in 2008, the cemetery to the east of Seaforth was visited. The ground surface was very uneven, and a marked linear depression could be seen crossing it from the Seaforth boundary on a south-west /north-east alignment. The feature could also be seen on the GoogleEarth air photographic image at the north-west corner of the cemetery. This was interpreted as a ditch with a northern bank, probably part of the Castledyke feature (Tann 2008)
An excavation at 89 Barrow Road was undertaken by Humber Field Archaeology in 2000. This was aimed at preservation by record, and covered the entire footprint of a proposed bungalow. Evidence was found for the Castledyke crossing the site during a later phase of activity.
Phase 5 consisted of a single event, the excavation of the large ditch known as Castledyke. It extended across the site for 11.80m in a NE-SW direction; its width was 5.10m and the depth was 1.50m. The ditch had 13 fills, the earliest producing 11th-12th century pottery. A simliar date range of pottery was found throughout the other fills, with some 13th century material. This was interpreted as due to a lack of new material being introduced onto the site during the time it was open (Bradley 2002)
Lindsey Archaeological Services carried out an evaluation at 'Seaforth', 91 Barrow Road, in 2008. This was in advance of a proposed residential development. The Castledyke ditch was encountered in Trenches 7, 9 and 10.
The northern end of Trench 7 contained a major NE-SW ditch at least 4.5m across, which was interpreted as the medieval Castledyke. It contained 9 fills, some indicating deliberate backfilling. Its actual width within the trench may have been at least 8m, taking into account another recorded feature that may have also been part of the ditch.
In the southern end of Trench 9, and extending beyond it, was a substantial NE-SW ditch, likely to be part of the Castledyke. Its full width was not visible within the trench, and its base was not seen. A 0.38m thick layer of mottled clay was recorded to the north of the ditch, apparently redeposited natural material. It may have been upcast from the ditch, or part of a deliberate bank. A narrower ditch or gully was cut into this upcast, measuring 0.40m wide and 0.30m deep. Its function was unknown, but must have been present when the ditch was in use, or still visible.
Trench 10 was east of Trench 9, and was dominated by the Castledyke. At this point it measured 4m wide and 1.60m deep, and contained 15 fill deposits. Late 11th - 12th century pottery, fired clay and slag fragments were found in some of these fills. A possible upcast or deliberate bank deposit 0.23m thick was recorded on the eastern side, and a similar ditch or gully to that in Trench 9 was on the western side, here measuring 0.42m wide and 0.35m deep. As the bank in Trench 10 was on the opposite side to that in Trench 9, it is likely that one or the other was debris from construction, and not intentional.
The date of the origin of Castledyke was not determined by this evaluation, although it was seen to cut through late 9th - late 10th century features. The dyke fills contained late 11th - mid 12th century finds. A relative absence of pottery on the site dating to the mid 11th - early 12th century suggests either that the site was cleared in order to dig the Castledyke, or that it had already been abandoned (Glover and Field 2008)
The excavation report on the investigations at St Peter's church includes a section on the Castledykes, headed 'The D-shaped town enclosure.' It includes a summary of the cartographic evidence and the opinions of successive local historians, particularly Brown and Heselden. The evidence from the 2000 excavations at 89 Barrow Road is also reviewed, although not from the 2008 excavations at 91 Barrow Road.
The author (Rodwell) disagrees with the interpretation of the evidence from 89 Barrow Road. The recutting of the ditch and the accumulation of 14 separate fills is seen as evidence for a pre-12th century date for construction. If this is the case, the ditch is unlikely to be associated with Gilbert de Gant's castle, or a boundary ditch for a planned town later in the 12th century. Rodwell argues that the curvature of the ditch north of Barrow Road reflects the shape of the sub-circular enclosure at East Acridge, which is of Middle Saxon date. The wider D-shaped town enclosure would therefore be later than Middle Saxon and earlier than 12th century. He suggests that similar large enclosures, next to rivers, are characteristic of temporary Viking camps. Bedford, Stamford, Witham, Cambridge and Thetford are other examples in eastern England. Fulham, Benfleet and Shoebury are estuarine camps. Hull and Barton are put forward as good locations for semi-permanent bases on the Humber, established in the mid or later 9th century (Rodwell and Atkins)
In 2002, the excavation of new sewer and foundation trenches within the core of the medieval town were monitored during house construction along Holydyke. At the northern end of the sewer trench, adjacent to the Holydyke pavement, the southern side of a ditch or pit feature was revealed. The trench exposed a section approximately 2m wide and 1.5m deep of this feature, which was cut in a potentially natural deposit of dull ginger-brown sandy clay. The earliest fills exposed in the section consisted of two layers of waterlogged gritty grey-brown clay, capped by a darker grey-brown clay-loam which had the appearance of a topsoil, into which a small pit or trench had been cut and backfilled with material containing 19/20th century pottery. A layer of redeposited natural extended over and beyond the ditch and was overlain by a substantial depth of modern topsoil. This stratified sequence of deposits was cut by the construction trench for the existing inspection chamber. The excavator postulated that the features represent the southern side of the town boundary ditch, the bulk of which lies beneath the present pavement, with a minor recutting into the backfill in the 19/20th century perhaps for a plot boundary. The presence of bread pancheon fragments in the upper fill of the town ditch suggest that it was not completely infilled until well into the 19th century (Atkins 2003). (North Lincolnshire HER)

Two charters, one a Papal Bull of the mid C12, refer to Barton as a castrum, or fortified town, with a murum or walls. Contemporary charters of Gilbert de Gand writes of scisso and fossati - ditches and banks.
There are numerous dyke road names it what must once have been the marshy town of Barton. Most are probably boundary and drainage dykes rather than town defences and it is possible this applies to some of the ditches mentioned in the early charters. The is also a distinct possibility of confusion between supposed town defences and supposed castle defences (See Barton upon Humber Castle). Brown's plan may be speculative. The medieval term use of the term 'castle' was varied and nuanced and doesn't always mean a defended place. However there remains a possibility there was a defensive ditch, and possibly bank, around some or all of Barton in the C11-C12 possibly one based on an earlier C9 ditched Danish winter camp.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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