Ancient Monuments

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Large cemetery north of Sangrado's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Eastry, Kent

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Latitude: 51.2364 / 51°14'10"N

Longitude: 1.3088 / 1°18'31"E

OS Eastings: 631068.801769

OS Northings: 153778.107699

OS Grid: TR310537

Mapcode National: GBR X1M.FQ3

Mapcode Global: VHLGY.M6R1

Entry Name: Large cemetery N of Sangrado's Wood

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1975

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004211

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 298

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Eastry

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery.

Source: Historic England


This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery surviving as buried remains. It is situated on the north-west facing slope of a valley south of Eastry.

The burials are generally aligned west-east and some are surrounded by circular or penannular ditches. The cemetery is visible as crop marks on aerial photographs. These include at least nine ring ditches as well as numerous pits concentrated in an area 52m by 32m. The ring ditches vary between 7m and 13m in diameter. Two ring ditches appear to have pits at their centre.

Partial excavation was carried out on or in the vicinity of the site in 1976 and 1989. The 1976 excavation was at the south side of the cemetery and uncovered 36 graves of which at least 12 had surrounding ditches of 4.5m to 7m diameter. There was no trace of barrows or structural features. The burials were predominantly male adults or infants and most were buried in coffins and included grave goods. The adult graves contained spears, buckles, a shield boss and a Frankish pottery vessel. The infant graves contained a disc-brooch, thread box, buckle, silver pin, gold bracteate, gilt coin and beads of amethyst and glass. The 1989 excavation was carried out in advance of road construction at the limit of the cemetery on that side and revealed 41 burials, including at least eight with enclosure ditches. Grave goods were either absent from burials or relatively modest and altogether poorer than those uncovered elsewhere in the cemetery. They included spears, knives, beads, latch lifters, shears, bangles, pins, pottery and glass vessels. The cemetery is thought to date to the second half of the seventh century AD.

Further archaeological remains, such as crop marks of rectilinear enclosures and trackways, survive in the vicinity of this site but are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation. Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods, including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite cultivation on the site in the past, the Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery 520m north-west of Updown House survives well. The cemetery has only been partially excavated and retains potential for the recovery of further burials and grave goods. The site will contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the cemetery and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Kent HER TR 35 SW 32. NMR TR 35 SW 32. PastScape 468663.,

Source: Historic England

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