Crosby Ravensworth Dyke

Has been described as a Questionable Linear Defence or Dyke

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameCrosby Ravensworth Dyke
Alternative Names
Historic CountryWestmorland
Modern AuthorityCumbria
1974 AuthorityCumbria
Civil ParishCrosby Ravensworth

Dykes and House-foundations at Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor, 2 m. S.S.W. of the church. The main dyke encloses a considerable area, the exact size of which cannot be stated as most of the E. side cannot be traced and there is no apparent return on the N. As it exists, the length of the enclosure is at least 1¼ miles, and it is said to have been a deer park. The large number of cross-dykes within the area, however, seems to negative this suggestion. Its position with a ravine running through it and its cross-dykes are very similar to the dyked enclosure at Ravenstonedale. The bank is about 14 ft. wide and the height from 3 to 3½ ft. (RCHME 1936)

This section of deer park boundary dyke is reasonably well preserved and is one of a group of dykes which together enclosed the deer park on, and adjacent to, Cow Green, Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor. Together these dykes form an extensive and complex system of medieval land division and will contribute to any study of the history of land use in the marginal areas of this region.

The monument is a c.160m length of dyke and ditch south of Cow Green which formed a boundary, or pale, of a medieval deer park. It is aligned north-south but turns north-west - south-east at its southern end. It measures a maximum of 4.2m wide by 1.1m high and is flanked by a ditch up to 1m wide on at least one and occasionally both sides. The dyke is one of seven lengths of dyke associated with a deer park at, or adjacent to, Cow green, Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor. Additionally, five medieval shielings are located in close proximity to lengths of the dyke. The deer park was enclosed in 1336 by the Threlkeld family of Crosby Lodge, then known as Crosby Gill, and extended to about 700 acres. During medieval times it was owned successively by the families of Pickering, Wilson and Rawlinson

(Scheduling Report)

Crosby Ravensworth Dyke:—There are the remains of a dyke, some three-quarters of a mile long, running parallel with the Lyvennet beck north and south, and lying midway between the British Settlements of Ewe Locks on the west and Burwans on the east. (Curwen 1932)

a. 1239

Grant of Gathorne by Ivo de Veteripont, who died in 1239. "Know ye that guided by charity, for the safety of my soul . . . I have given and granted . . . to God and the poor (brethren) of the Hospital of St. Leonard of York, Garethorn with its belongings according as the underwritten limits and boundaries show: that is to say, from the older mill pond of Garethorn to the Ghil next the ploughland as far as the great dyke, and then across the way which comes from Kendal, up to the great stone, and then to the end of the four stones; thence descending to the lower head of Windecoteghil and thence going to Rudekeldsike; in Rudekeldsike descending by the stream of Driabecghile to the bounds of Hof; thence transversely to the boundary between Asby and Garethorn to the stream of Asby, and thence ascending to the aforesaid old pond." (Curwen 1932)

Gatehouse Comments

Perriam and Robinson, citing Curwen, appear to be suggesting this pretty obvious deer park pale was a defensive structure. However, it should be noted, the dyke mentioned in 1239 pre-dates the supposed foundation of the deer park in 1336 and the identification of the dyke west of Lyvennet Beck with that mentioned in a grant of land generally quite far east of that beck is not certain. Regardless there is nothing to suggest a 'defensive' structure.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNY615125
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  • Perriam, Denis and Robinson, John, 1998, The Medieval Fortified Buildings of Cumbria (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 29) p. 277
  • RCHME, 1936, An inventory of the historical monuments in Westmorland (HMSO) p. 89 no. 36 online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1932, ''Parishes (West Ward): St Laurence, Crosby Ravensworth' The Later Records relating to North Westmorland: or the Barony of Appleby p. 302-24 online transcription
  • Curwen, J.F., 1913, Castles and Fortified Towers of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire North of the Sands (Kendal: CWAAS Extra Series 13) p. 201


  • Collingwood, W.G., 1926, 'An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Westmorland and Lancashire North-of-the-Sands' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 26 p. 20 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Ragg, F.W., 1911, 'Mauld's Meaburn, the Alston Mines, and a branch of the Veteriponts' Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol. 11 p. 316-18 (mention, as magnam fossam in charter of the early C13) online copy