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Bishops Dyke, Dalston Barrs

In the civil parish of Dalston.
In the historic county of Cumberland.
Modern Authority of Cumbria.
1974 county of Cumbria.
Medieval County of Cumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY373516
Latitude 54.85572° Longitude -2.98038°

Bishops Dyke, Dalston Barrs has been described as a probable Linear Defence or Dyke.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Alleged defensive earthwork to protect the Manor of Dalston during the Scottish wars although possibly earlier. Partly upstanding earthwork. (PastScape)

Bishop's Dyke - probably formed as a defensive earthwork during the Scottish wars for the manor of Dalston, and consists of a double ditch with a causeway between.
Commencing near the River Caldew at Cummersdale, the dyke passes to the north of Dalston Hall, crosses the Dalston-Carlisle road at East Barras, continues for two hundred yards and then swings south-west. It is then lost in a morass but is well preserved in a strip of wood to the south.
From here it continues to West Barras at Barras Brow Foot, crosses Barras Lane, then along Buebank Lane to Bruntgate, then along a footpath to Bellgate, and, continuing in a south-west direction, finally ends on the steep banks of Shawk Beck.
The word 'Barras' which occurs along the length of the dyke is Old French for 'barrier' or 'outwork' (Armstrong 1950), and Ferguson implies that it marks the enclosure round the Teutonic 'ton' of Dalston, dug by early settlers.
Bishop's Dyke is generally in poor condition (B H Pritchard/05-DEC-1969/Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigator).
There is a possible Mediaeval gateway at NY374518 (Perriam and Robinson). (PastScape)

Runs from NY368513 north east to NY373518 turns and runs south east NY376517. NY374518 marks position of possible medieval gate recorded as Dalston Barrs in reign of Edward IV.
There is a tendency in this area is to see medieval works as defences against the 'Scots' and alternative, none military, functions for this earthwork should also be considered. Ferguson, speaking in 1883, felt the work was too elaborate to be a park pale or manorial boundary and felt it was a pre-historic earthwork, although this view would not exclude late use as a park pale and/or boundary marker.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:34

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