Borrowdale Dyke

Has been described as a Possible Linear Defence or Dyke

There are no visible remains

NameBorrowdale Dyke
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishBorrowdale

This barrier is described as a plessicium, or slashed hedge, which served as a stockade against the Scots, and is so named in the following grant, dated about 1180, when its origin and use must have been well known. "Grant by William de Lancaster II to the monks of St. Mary at Byland, of his part of Borgheredala (Borrowdale) by the great way which goes by Ernestan (Eagle-stone) to the plessicium which has been made on account of the Scots; and by the brow of the hill of Bannisdale, which is towards Borrowdale, as long as Bannisdale continues, and so to Borrowdale Head and so to the bounds of Westmorland, in perpetual alms, and for the settlement of the complaint which Wimund, late Bishop of the Isles, had against the father of the grantor." (Hist. MSS. Com., 10th Report, iv, 323.).

The precise position of this dyke has not been ascertained as yet, but from "Hollow Gate," half way between Kendal and Shap, there is a track some four miles across the moor eastward known as "Breasthigh," which clearly has had a rampart on its northern bank noticable near the ruins of Knott House and just beyond and which comes out near Tebay where there is a farm called "The Dyke." On the other hand it will be observed that the land to the northward rises considerably so that the rampart could be of little strategic strength against the Scots, and these place names may refer only to an ancient park of 100 acres which William L'Engleys received licence to impark in Tebay and Roundthwaite by grant of 12 Edward III. (Curwen 1932)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY548030
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Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reservedView full Sized Image
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. All rights reservedView full Sized Image

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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 261
  • Curwen, J.F., 1932, 'Parishes (East Ward): All Saints', Orton' The Later Records relating to North Westmorland: or the Barony of Appleby p. 195-213 online transcription

Primary Sources

  • 1885, The manuscripts of the Earl of Westmorland, Captain Stewart, Lord Stafford, Lord Muncaster, and others. (10th report, appendix iv) (Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts 13) p. 323 online copy