Barons Dyke

Has been described as a Possible Linear Defence or Dyke

There are earthwork remains

NameBarons Dyke
Alternative NamesBishops Dyke; Bar Dyke; White Moss
Historic CountryCumberland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishIrthington

The Bishop's or Baron's Dyke is a Medieval boundary, separating the baronry of Gilsland from the Bishop's Manor of Crosby. It was called the Bishop's Dyke in (a perambulation) of 1603; locally it is known as the Bar Dyke. The dike appears to run from the Roman Road (presumably that along the Wall) near Highfield Moor House (NY459613) to Newby (NY475583), a distance of about 2 miles. The dike consisted of two parallel banks, 30 ft apart overall, which appear to have been formed by earth thrown out of two central ditches, with a strip of original surface between them. There are indications that earth may also have been thrown up from the outside. Hodgson suggests that the dike was modelled on the Vallum, but on a smaller scale, and without the one central ditch. Near the wall the Dyke is not very noticeable, and for most of its course it has been destroyed, but about 1 - 1/2 miles south of the wall, not far from Newby, for some three or four hundred yards, it is in a fairly good state of preservation. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Ferguson dismisses this as a park pale - being far more than necessary for such a purpose. Hodgson points out the similarity between this work and the nearby Roman vallum near Hadrian's Wall, whilst clearly dating it as medieval. Hodgson was of the opinion this was a boundary marker (with Imperial pretensions) rather than a military work. Gatehouse agrees with Hodgson, with the suggestion that this was also a deer park pale.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY473587
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 83
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 195
  • Wilson, J., 1912, Rose Castle (Carlisle) p. 190


  • Graham, T.H.B., 1913, 'The Townfields of Cumberland. Part II' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 13 p. 26 online copy
  • Hodgson, T.H., 1896, 'The Bishop's or Baron's Dyke, Crosby-on-Eden' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 14 p. 144-6 online copy
  • Ferguson, R.S., 1884, 'The Bishop's Dyke, Dalston ; Barras Gate, Dalston ; the Bishop's Dyke, Crosby' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 7 p. 271-8 online copy