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    The Black Dyke between Gisburn and Colne - LINEAR EARTHWORK

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    lowergate

    Join date : 2010-11-01
    Age : 68
    Location : CLITHEROE

    The Black Dyke between Gisburn and Colne - LINEAR EARTHWORK

    Post  lowergate on Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:08 am

    A linear earthwork in the borderlands of West Craven?

    Drawing Evidence from previously published sources, aerial photographs and field walking the authors suggest a previously unidentified linear earthwork work in West Craven.

    Directly east of the summit of Pendle Hill, Weets Hill divides the Ribble Valley from the lands around Blacko that drain eventually into the River Calder. The earthwork traverses Weets Hill on a north - south axis. The line of this feature starts in Gisburn parish near the impressive remains of the Romano British site at Bomber Camp. Linear features can be traced for 4 miles over Weets Hill to a termination point close by Blacko Hill. In places the feature is only recorded by aerial photographs but from the summit of Weets Hill it descends southwards as a clear landscape feature.

    Gisburn Old Road

    Along the course of this feature Gisburn Old Road has been known by various names, the Long Causeway, Coal Pits Lane, Gisburn Old Road and significantly The Black Dyke. These locations lie approximately half a mile to the east of the modern A682 road from Gisburn to Colne. Historically boundaries in this area have been ill defined, and subject to many revisions. As recently as 1974 the county boundary was redrawn and transferred parts of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire into Lancashire. The sceptic might suggest that this is nothing more than the course of the old Gisburn to Colne Road; however, we would respectfully suggest that there is something of greater interest hereabouts.

    The old Gisburn to Colne road ran to the east of the present main road (A682). The modern road was laid out in the nineteenth century as an improvement road avoiding the higher parts of Weets Hill. Standing on the summit of the old road at Weets Hill, the road north to Gisburn (Coal Pit Lane) is clearly defined. Unlike other green roads hereabouts it seems to have been deliberately laid out in a series of straight sections. Compare this road with the great wool route the Lincoln Road, which meanders around the north east flank of Pendle Hill and is clearly, though only a green holloway in parts, a transportation road and not a dyke. Coal Pit Lane is flanked for most of its course by deep ditches and ancient banks. Clearly marked on maps over two hundred years ago it is undoubtedly a very old road.

    The Bomber Banks

    The northern end of Coal Pit Lane terminates at a cross roads with the A682. The road directly westwards from the junction leads to Westby Farm, the site of Arnolds Biggin- - a substantial medieval manorial site. Significantly this farm track is called ‘The Long Causeway’. Causeway was used in ancient times to denote a ‘purpose’ man made road, rather than a general/customary track or holloway. Old Roman Roads were often referred to as a ‘causeway’. Coal Pit Lane initially strikes eastwards from the cross roads with the A682 about a mile south of Gisburn. The lane then turns shapely to the south to climb Weets Hill. In a field close to where the lane commences its southern leg are the clear remains of a Romano British enclosure - Bomber Camp. This is probably the most interesting but neglected Romano British site in the county. It consists of a square ditched enclosure on a south facing slope. The ditches are particularly well defined and curiously regular. In the spring of 1940 the site was explored by Dr Musson, who discovered pottery, an iron Roman sword, loom weights and grinding stones. This suggests domestic occupation of the site. In little more than a postscript he described curious earth works and ditches flanking Coal Pit Lane. These flanking ditches and earthworks ran along the eastside of the lane from Bomber Camp, to a point beyond the point were the line of the Ribchester to Elslack Roman Road bisects the lane.

    Linear Earthwork, R C Musson 1940.

    During the Second World War the RAF made a comprehensive aerial survey of Britain. These earthworks can be clearly seen on these aerial photos. However when this area was resurveyed circa 1960 the earthworks had been destroyed. These aerial photos can be accessed via the excellent Lancashire County Council Mario web site.
    Our field walking has confirmed the survival of some of the ditches and banks recorded by Musson close to the intersection with the line of the Roman Road. Continuing our examination of the lane southwards, we could not help but notice the deep ditches sometimes on both sides of what is a very wide lane. It should be noted that the Roman Road referred to can not be identified without the assistance of a good large scale map. Unlike the Lane, it is a difficult feature to define in the visible landscape. It begs the question did the construction of the lane make the line of the Roman Road redundant?

    As Coal Pits Lane climbs Weets Hill it cuts a deep holloway until it reaches the final assent to open moor land just beyond Lanes Side Farm. The lane has now brought us to the Level of Weets. The final climb though the Levels reveal a landscape deeply scarred by coal extraction. Any sign of earthworks in this area would have been lost long ago. Fortunately the southern flank of Weets Hill has not been disturbed by coal workings. Very close to Weets House (the summit of the lane), by a dry stone wall commences The Black Dyke.

    The Black Dyke.

    From Weets House Coal Pit Lane becomes Gisburn Old Road - an unexceptional moorland road with a modern metalled surface. This road does not have significant banks or ditches. In fact it is wrong to see Coal Pits Lane as described here as a continuation of Gisburn Old Road. The old route of the Gisburn Road ran from Coal Pits Lane down to take a westerly course above Newfield Edge Farm to meet the course of the A682 near Little Middop Farm. The Black Dyke runs up the south side of Weets Hill. It runs parallel to the Old Gisburn Road about a hundred or so metre’s to the west. The dyke is over 5 metre’s wide and must have been deeper in ancient times. A nineteenth century field wall has been built in the bottom of the dyke, and in effect disguises its appearance in the landscape.
    The dyke, also known here as ‘Hansons Dyke’, skirts the eastern side of Admergill valley to meet with a boundary ditch that runs away from the Black Dyke on an angle of 45 degree’s over Blacko Hill, being part of the old Lancashire/Yorkshire border. The Black Dyke then descends to cross Wanless Water heading, it would appear, towards Colne. Unfortunately the line of this dyke has been lost due to industrialisation. Though Blacko Hill has been subject to stone extraction, there is enough evidence that the dyke continued west of the hill and intersects with the old county boundary. This was coincidently the most north eastern border of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Mercia.

    The Kingdom of Mercia is an ancient kingdom, but other Celtic Kingdoms existed long before the coming of the English. The lands which formed the micro Kingdom of Craven fell within the Anglo Saxon Hundred of East Staincliffe. Celtic Craven was absorbed into the Kingdom of Northumbria in the seventh century. The Black Dyke and more significantly Coal Pit Lane were used to define the boundary between East and West Staincliffe hundreds. It a paradox that 90% of the Hundred of West Staincliffe lies north of the Ribble. Here we have a strategically important enclave south of the river, hard up against Pendle Hill which was undoubtedly in Mercian territory.

    It is significant but not surprising that the line of the Black Dyke and Coal Pits Lane was used to define parish boundaries between Bracewell and Rimington, Middop and Brogden and between Brogden and Salterforth. For 4 miles parish boundaries are defined by lane and dyke, this is exceptional in Craven. It might not be unique in a wider context, but exceptional nonetheless. The parish of Brogden falls into two separate parts which are located either side of the Black Dyke. The boundary of the hundred abandons the line of the dyke for a short distance so as to included the detached part of Brogden into East Staincliffe Hundred. This is typical of a disputed border zone. It is significant the place name Rimington means - village by the border.

    The construction of the Black Dyke must have been a considerable undertaking. It would be highly unlikely to be constructed just to define a minor boundary. On the north side of Weets Hill the building of the triple bank earthworks has been executed to signify the lane as a boundary.

    An ancient boundary.

    The physical presence of the Black Dyke can not be doubted, nor can its antiquity.
    The earliest reference to the dyke is in the twelve century (Coucher Book of Kirkstall Abbey). The line of the dyke excludes it being a forest boundary. We contend that the Bomber Banks and Black Dyke were part of a continuous feature. An earthwork cut to define an important political boundary. As the Dyke was referred to as an ancient feature in the twelfth century, we must look further back in time: Prior to the Norman Conquest the most important boundary in these parts was between Mercia (the lands twixt Mersey and Ribble) and Northumbria (the West Riding and lands north of the Ribble).The boundary between these kingdoms was formed by the Ribble and high Pennine divide. The greatest King of Mercia was Offa. Facing the problem of an ill defined border with Celtic Wales he constructed a series of dykes to resolve this matter. We have concluded that the Black Dyke and Bomber Banks were a Mercian attempt to define a boundary, were there was no obvious geographic feature to link the high Pennines with the Ribble.

    www.aussteigerpublications.com

    From: PENDLE - A MYTHIC LANDSCAPE (free download)
    Aussteiger Publications 2012


    Last edited by lowergate on Mon May 30, 2011 12:31 am; edited 1 time in total

    Viking Orm

    Join date : 2011-05-29

    Back Lane (Road to Walton monolith) via Castercliffe

    Post  Viking Orm on Sun May 29, 2011 9:40 am

    I have been under the impression, rightly or wrongly for some time that the Black Dyke would originally have run (more or less in a straight line from Weets right through Foulridge, towards Knotts Lane then onto the ancient lane past Castercliffe and on to Walton Spire. Offa seems a feasible culprit, especially bearing in mind the close proximity of Weets being so close to Offa Hill at Stang Top at Roughlee, merely a stones throw and sitting right next to Brown Hill where a similar looking
    Dyke can clearly be seen wrapping itself around the hillside. It just makes you wonder if these two Dykes were either connected or even one and the same.

    lowergate wrote:Drawing Evidence from previously published sources, aerial photographs and field walking the authors suggest a previously unidentified linear earthwork work in West Craven.

    Directly east of the summit of Pendle Hill, Weets Hill divides the Ribble Valley from the lands around Blacko that drain eventually into the River Calder. The earthwork traverses Weets Hill on a north - south axis. The line of this feature starts in Gisburn parish near the impressive remains of the Romano British site at Bomber Camp. Linear features can be traced for 4 miles over Weets Hill to a termination point close by Blacko Hill. In places the feature is only recorded by aerial photographs but from the summit of Weets Hill it descends southwards as a clear landscape feature.

    Gisburn Old Road

    Along the course of this feature Gisburn Old Road has been known by various names, the Long Causeway, Coal Pits Lane, Gisburn Old Road and significantly The Black Dyke. These locations lie approximately half a mile to the east of the modern A682 road from Gisburn to Colne. Historically boundaries in this area have been ill defined, and subject to many revisions. As recently as 1974 the county boundary was redrawn and transferred parts of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire into Lancashire. The sceptic might suggest that this is nothing more than the course of the old Gisburn to Colne Road; however, we would respectfully suggest that there is something of greater interest hereabouts.

    The old Gisburn to Colne road ran to the east of the present main road (A682). The modern road was laid out in the nineteenth century as an improvement road avoiding the higher parts of Weets Hill. Standing on the summit of the old road at Weets Hill, the road north to Gisburn (Coal Pit Lane) is clearly defined. Unlike other green roads hereabouts it seems to have been deliberately laid out in a series of straight sections. Compare this road with the great wool route the Lincoln Road, which meanders around the north east flank of Pendle Hill and is clearly, though only a green holloway in parts, a transportation road and not a dyke. Coal Pit Lane is flanked for most of its course by deep ditches and ancient banks. Clearly marked on maps over two hundred years ago it is undoubtedly a very old road.

    The Bomber Banks

    The northern end of Coal Pit Lane terminates at a cross roads with the A682. The road directly westwards from the junction leads to Westby Farm, the site of Arnolds Biggin- - a substantial medieval manorial site. Significantly this farm track is called ‘The Long Causeway’. Causeway was used in ancient times to denote a ‘purpose’ man made road, rather than a general/customary track or holloway. Old Roman Roads were often referred to as a ‘causeway’. Coal Pit Lane initially strikes eastwards from the cross roads with the A682 about a mile south of Gisburn. The lane then turns shapely to the south to climb Weets Hill. In a field close to where the lane commences its southern leg are the clear remains of a Romano British enclosure - Bomber Camp. This is probably the most interesting but neglected Romano British site in the county. It consists of a square ditched enclosure on a south facing slope. The ditches are particularly well defined and curiously regular. In the spring of 1940 the site was explored by Dr Musson, who discovered pottery, an iron Roman sword, loom weights and grinding stones. This suggests domestic occupation of the site. In little more than a postscript he described curious earth works and ditches flanking Coal Pit Lane. These flanking ditches and earthworks ran along the eastside of the lane from Bomber Camp, to a point beyond the point were the line of the Ribchester to Elslack Roman Road bisects the lane.

    Linear Earthwork, R C Musson 1940.

    During the Second World War the RAF made a comprehensive aerial survey of Britain. These earthworks can be clearly seen on these aerial photos. However when this area was resurveyed circa 1960 the earthworks had been destroyed. These aerial photos can be accessed via the excellent Lancashire County Council Mario web site.
    Our field walking has confirmed the survival of some of the ditches and banks recorded by Musson close to the intersection with the line of the Roman Road. Continuing our examination of the lane southwards, we could not help but notice the deep ditches sometimes on both sides of what is a very wide lane. It should be noted that the Roman Road referred to can not be identified without the assistance of a good large scale map. Unlike the Lane, it is a difficult feature to define in the visible landscape. It begs the question did the construction of the lane make the line of the Roman Road redundant?

    As Coal Pits Lane climbs Weets Hill it cuts a deep holloway until it reaches the final assent to open moor land just beyond Lanes Side Farm. The lane has now brought us to the Level of Weets. The final climb though the Levels reveal a landscape deeply scarred by coal extraction. Any sign of earthworks in this area would have been lost long ago. Fortunately the southern flank of Weets Hill has not been disturbed by coal workings. Very close to Weets House (the summit of the lane), by a dry stone wall commences The Black Dyke.

    The Black Dyke.

    From Weets House Coal Pit Lane becomes Gisburn Old Road - an unexceptional moorland road with a modern metalled surface. This road does not have significant banks or ditches. In fact it is wrong to see Coal Pits Lane as described here as a continuation of Gisburn Old Road. The old route of the Gisburn Road ran from Coal Pits Lane down to take a westerly course above Newfield Edge Farm to meet the course of the A682 near Little Middop Farm. The Black Dyke runs up the south side of Weets Hill. It runs parallel to the Old Gisburn Road about a hundred or so metre’s to the west. The dyke is over 5 metre’s wide and must have been deeper in ancient times. A nineteenth century field wall has been built in the bottom of the dyke, and in effect disguises its appearance in the landscape.
    The dyke, also known here as ‘Hansons Dyke’, skirts the eastern side of Admergill valley to meet with a boundary ditch that runs away from the Black Dyke on an angle of 45 degree’s over Blacko Hill, being part of the old Lancashire/Yorkshire border. The Black Dyke then descends to cross Wanless Water heading, it would appear, towards Colne. Unfortunately the line of this dyke has been lost due to industrialisation. Though Blacko Hill has been subject to stone extraction, there is enough evidence that the dyke continued west of the hill and intersects with the old county boundary. This was coincidently the most north eastern border of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Mercia.

    The Kingdom of Mercia is an ancient kingdom, but other Celtic Kingdoms existed long before the coming of the English. The lands which formed the micro Kingdom of Craven fell within the Anglo Saxon Hundred of East Staincliffe. Celtic Craven was absorbed into the Kingdom of Northumbria in the seventh century. The Black Dyke and more significantly Coal Pit Lane were used to define the boundary between East and West Staincliffe hundreds. It a paradox that 90% of the Hundred of West Staincliffe lies north of the Ribble. Here we have a strategically important enclave south of the river, hard up against Pendle Hill which was undoubtedly in Mercian territory.

    It is significant but not surprising that the line of the Black Dyke and Coal Pits Lane was used to define parish boundaries between Bracewell and Rimington, Middop and Brogden and between Brogden and Salterforth. For 4 miles parish boundaries are defined by lane and dyke, this is exceptional in Craven. It might not be unique in a wider context, but exceptional nonetheless. The parish of Brogden falls into two separate parts which are located either side of the Black Dyke. The boundary of the hundred abandons the line of the dyke for a short distance so as to included the detached part of Brogden into East Staincliffe Hundred. This is typical of a disputed border zone. It is significant the place name Rimington means - village by the border.

    The construction of the Black Dyke must have been a considerable undertaking. It would be highly unlikely to be constructed just to define a minor boundary. On the north side of Weets Hill the building of the triple bank earthworks has been executed to signify the lane as a boundary.

    An ancient boundary.

    The physical presence of the Black Dyke can not be doubted, nor can its antiquity.
    The earliest reference to the dyke is in the twelve century (Coucher Book of Kirkstall Abbey). The line of the dyke excludes it being a forest boundary. We contend that the Bomber Banks and Black Dyke were part of a continuous feature. An earthwork cut to define an important political boundary. As the Dyke was referred to as an ancient feature in the twelfth century, we must look further back in time: Prior to the Norman Conquest the most important boundary in these parts was between Mercia (the lands twixt Mersey and Ribble) and Northumbria (the West Riding and lands north of the Ribble).The boundary between these kingdoms was formed by the Ribble and high Pennine divide. The greatest King of Mercia was Offa. Facing the problem of an ill defined border with Celtic Wales he constructed a series of dykes to resolve this matter. We have concluded that the Black Dyke and Bomber Banks were a Mercian attempt to define a boundary, were there was no obvious geographic feature to link the high Pennines with the Ribble.

    www.aussteigerpublications.com

    From: PENDLE - A MYTHIC LANDSCAPE
    Aussteiger Publications 2011
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    Sunbright57

    Join date : 2011-02-10
    Age : 59
    Location : Nelson - the one in Lancashire sorry to say!

    Bomber Camp Earthworks

    Post  Sunbright57 on Sun May 29, 2011 10:05 am

    Please see new site for Bomber Camp Earthworks near Gisburn.


    Last edited by Sunbright57 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total

    Viking Orm

    Join date : 2011-05-29

    Re: The Black Dyke between Gisburn and Colne - LINEAR EARTHWORK

    Post  Viking Orm on Sun May 29, 2011 10:55 am

    Ha ha yes. I am just finding my feet unfortunately
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    Sunbright57

    Join date : 2011-02-10
    Age : 59
    Location : Nelson - the one in Lancashire sorry to say!

    The Black Dyke

    Post  Sunbright57 on Sun May 29, 2011 11:03 am

    Ok Viking, no real problem, John won't mind. Welcome to the site as well. affraid
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    lowergate

    Join date : 2010-11-01
    Age : 68
    Location : CLITHEROE

    The Black Dyke between Gisburn and Colne - LINEAR EARTHWORK

    Post  lowergate on Mon May 30, 2011 12:43 am

    Hi Viking Orm,

    "I have been under the impression, rightly or wrongly for some time that the Black Dyke would originally have run (more or less in a straight line from Weets right through Foulridge, towards Knotts Lane then onto the ancient lane past Castercliffe and on to Walton Spire. Offa seems a feasible culprit, especially bearing in mind the close proximity of Weets being so close to Offa Hill at Stang Top at Roughlee, merely a stones throw and sitting right next to Brown Hill where a similar looking
    Dyke can clearly be seen wrapping itself around the hillside. It just makes you wonder if these two Dykes were either connected or even one and the same."

    In my opinion you may well be right in the above assumption. Given the industrial nature of the ground between Blacko and Castercliffe I have purposely not looked at this section you refer to.

    I strongly feel that you are on to something here and would value your input.

    Best regards

    john


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    Re: The Black Dyke between Gisburn and Colne - LINEAR EARTHWORK

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