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King Lud's Entrenchments

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Details of site on Pastscape

[SK 8583 2799 to SK 8662 2795] King Lud's Entrenchments (NR) [SK 8685 2793] The Tent [NR] (1)
'William, Earl of Bologne, Mortaigne and Warren, who died in 1160 gave 40 acres of land at Saltby to the Abbey of Croxton and all the waste lands at the three dykes.' 'On the boundaries of Saltby and Croxton is a rampart called King Lud's Intrenchments, extending from East to West for nearly 3/4 mile, consisting of a double ditch and several pits or hollows, one deeper than ordinary, into which they say, were stone stairs.' 'From the West it descends a gentle valley which it crosses near the East and terminates on rising ground at a pit called The Tent ['F'] where tradition says King Lud was killed. From ditch to ditch it is 7 yds broad, and in other places not more than 4 yards. Where the plough and spade have spared it, it is 6 ft high'. (2)
King Lud's Entrenchments. (Miscellaneous Earthwork - Class X). A line of entrenchments 3,050 ft long, lies due east and west; it occupies ground slightly higher than its southern prospect, in which direction the land gradually falls. The extreme west consists of a double fosse and single vallum, but it has been weakened in recent years; the most perfect section is one-third of its distance from the west, here are a triple vallum and double fosse; From the north side the vallum is 4ft high and 10 ft wide, the first fosse is 8 ft deep, the second vallum, of the same height, is 15ft wide, the second fosse 6 ft deep, and the outer vallum, 11ft wide, is 4ft above the exterior level. The eastern third of the entrenchments has almost perished.
The Tent is a deep pear-shaped excavation, perhaps a dwelling or a guardroom; the entrance is at the north-west, close to the vallum, at which point was also an entrance through the lines. A bank is around the curve of the north-east side, from which the hollow is 26ft deep. (3)
King Lud's Entrenchments have no special command of the neighbourhood; about 450ft above sea level, with land to the immediate north rather higher. The earthwork which consists of two ramparts and two ditches may have extended a few hundred feet further to the East; its purpose is uncertain, but it does not appear to have formed a boundary dike. It is now [1913]
planted with trees. (4)
A double-ditched dyke; traces of the work begin on the north edge of Egypt Plantation, a little to the east of The Tent. It gets stronger till near the west of Cooper's Plantation the ditches are as much as 3 ft deep and then it tails off to vanish
before it reaches the road north of Saltby. The parish boundaries to the east and west look very much as though the work had once been much longer. (5)
Scheduled Monuments in Leicestershire. King Lud's Entrenchments. Saxon. A boundary of Frontier earthwork double-ditched. [No period is allocated to this earthwork in the Ministry of Works scheduled list]. (6)
Possible traces of a continuation of this feature are visible from SK 8452 2756 to SK 8421 2755. (7)
The three dykes mentioned by Authority 2, consist of 'King Lud's Intrenchment' and the 'Foulding Dykes'.

Nichols states:- "Half a mile nearer Sproxton (From King Lud's Intrenchment) a single ditch with a mound on each side crosses the road almost at right angles, the extent of which seems not more than 200 yards, and a quarter of a mile further is another running in the same direction for 3/4 mile. These two are called the Foulding Dykes .... the three entrenchments taken together (are called) the Three Dykes". (8)
The Foulding Dykes were not located; it is likely that they were destroyed by the construction of the airfield as was the eastern end of King Lud's. The remaining portions of the intrenchment are probably in much the same condition as they were in Nichols time; it is of a weak nature and was probably not defensive, more a boundary work. The bank to the south carries the footings of a stone wall, probably a later addition.
The reference to its existence pre-1160 in an area of waste land makes it vitually certain to be of Anglo-Saxon date, possibly the boundaries of a petty kingdom. Published survey 25" revised.
"The Tent" is a disused quarry of no archaeological import. (9)
The linear earthwork recorded by Authorities 1-9 was partially visible on vertical photography of various dates, but for much of its length it is obscured by tree cover; the Tent could not be identified for the same reason. (Morph No. LI.780.3.1)
The Foulding Dykes, mentioned by Authority 9, were not positively identified, but two separate linear features, running east-west, and lying between King Lud's Entrenchments and Sproxton village were seen as cropmarks and are separately recorded as SK 82 NE 22 and SK 82 NE 48. This description is based on data from the RCHME MORPH2 database.(10)

SK 8584 2798 - SK 8718 2784. King Lud's Intrenchments and adjacent barrow.
Earthworks exist in Cooper's Plantation for a distance of 750m and include three parallel banks separated by two ditches. The ditches are up to 1.5m deep and an average of 8m wide and the banks up to 0.5m high. An excavation section of the ditches has shown that the southern ditch is `V'-shaped in profile and the northern ditch `U'-shaped. There are also slight earthworks in Egypt Plantation comprising a single bank, to the north of a disused quarry, is up to 0.75m high and 8m with slight remains of a ditch on its northern side. Both earthworks have been modified by wartime airfield activity.
On the eastern side the entrenchments join the prehistoric trackway known as Sewstern Lane (LINEAR 77). The earthworks have long been considered as of Saxon origin, specifically identified with Ludeca of Mercia, but recent aerial photographic work has suggested that the monument may be part of an extensive prehistoric boundary system extending from Northamptonshire to the Humber and termed `the Jurassic spine'.
Associated with the linear monument is a Bronze Age barrow cemetery (SK 82 NE 2), of which one barrow is known to survive and is included in the scheduling [although not recorded under SK 82 NE 2]. The barrow measures about 25m in diameter and 1.5m high with no visible surrounding ditch. A hollow in the centre is the result of an excavation by Bateman in 1860 (but see SK 82 NE 2).
Scheduled (RSM) No. 17107. (11)
Chance Posted by Chance
16th February 2014ce

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