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Ferrybridge Henge, a prehistoric enclosure, and two round barrows

A Scheduled Monument in Knottingley, Wakefield

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Latitude: 53.7123 / 53°42'44"N

Longitude: -1.2831 / 1°16'59"W

OS Eastings: 447415.567177

OS Northings: 424230.308726

OS Grid: SE474242

Mapcode National: GBR MTHH.0Y

Mapcode Global: WHDC1.8Y8F

Entry Name: Ferrybridge Henge, a prehistoric enclosure, and two round barrows

Scheduled Date: 22 July 1966

Last Amended: 7 April 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005789

English Heritage Legacy ID: WY 720

County: Wakefield

Electoral Ward/Division: Knottingley

Built-Up Area: Knottingley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ferrybridge St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The buried remains of a henge, a prehistoric enclosure, and two round barrows located in fields between Stranglands Lane and the A1(M) road, near to the Holmfield Interchange and Ferrybridge Power station.

Source: Historic England


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the buried remains of a henge, a prehistoric enclosure and two round barrows situated at c15m above ordnance datum on gently sloping ground about 1km west of the River Aire. The henge is immediately south of Stranglands Lane, with a round barrow within it, whilst the prehistoric enclosure and second round barrow are c65m west of the henge. All four features are not visible at ground level but produce distinctive cropmarks which have been recorded by aerial photography on numerous occasions since 1948, and confirmed through geophysical survey.

DESCRIPTION: the henge survives as the buried remains (centred on SE 47458 24250) of a sub-circular enclosure c240m - 260m in diameter with an inner ditch, bank, and outer ditch, and a causewayed entrance on the south-west. Part of the north side of the henge, including the opposing north-east entrance, lies largely beneath Stranglands Lane and is not included in the scheduling. The inner ditch varies in depth and breadth but has been recorded as c12.5m wide and c2.7m deep at the east, with a broad U-shaped profile and a flat base about 2.5m wide. It forms a sub-circular inner enclosure, c120m in diameter, with a causewayed entrance aligned with those through the bank and outer ditch. The inner ditch is separated from the buried remains of the bank by a berm c21m - 30m wide. A round barrow, defined by a ditch c24m in diameter, is situated on the south side of the berm (centred on SE 47483 24182). The henge bank is formed of soil and limestone and has been recorded as c17m wide and c0.7m high at the east. There were two main phases to the construction of the henge bank; material was first quarried from the inner ditch before it was widened using material quarried from the outer ditch. Outside the bank is a c9m wide berm, surrounded by an outer ditch which varies in depth and breadth but has been recorded as up to c16m wide and 1.2m deep. The outer entrance at the south-west is formed by a causeway approximately 30m wide. Both the inner and outer ditches have expanded terminals; they are wider on either side of the causewayed entrance.

The prehistoric enclosure is situated c65m to the west of the Ferrybridge Henge and survives as buried remains (centred on SE 47240 24276). It is a pennanular or sub-circular enclosure c42m in diameter with an east-facing causewayed entrance 3.5m wide that directly faces the henge. Partial excavation has shown that the ditch is formed of a primary cut and a later, shallower, re-cut; the primary cut is 1.8m wide and 0.7m deep whilst the recut is 1.3m wide and 0.3m deep.

A round barrow is situated immediately south of the curvilinear enclosure and survives as buried remains (centred on SE 47253 24246). It is a sub-circular ditched enclosure c11m in diameter formed by a ditch c0.5m wide. Aerial photographs indicate that it originally formed part of a barrow cemetery, formerly visible as cropmarks to the south and west but these have largely been destroyed by the construction of the A1(M) road.

The scheduling excludes all modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts. However the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Ferrybridge Henge, prehistoric enclosure, and two round barrows, are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: as a rare example of a Neolithic henge, of which there are only about 50 known examples in England;
* Period: Henges and round barrows are highly representative of the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods; henges are one of relatively few monuments known from the Neolithic, which also possess a high degree of longevity, whilst round barrows were built and used over an extended period of time;
* Survival: partial excavation has confirmed that the buried remains of Ferrybridge Henge and the prehistoric enclosure survive well;
* Potential: the site will retain significant archaeological potential for buried deposits illustrating the nature of prehistoric activity, the date of construction and duration of use of the monuments, and the landscape in which the henge, prehistoric enclosure, and barrows were set;
* Documentation (Archaeological): the monuments have been well documented through aerial photography, geophysical survey and excavations, which enhance our knowledge of this prehistoric landscape;
* Group value: the henge, prehistoric enclosure and round barrows are a closely associated group of Neolithic to Bronze Age monuments, which will contribute valuable information regarding the continuity of land use and the evolution of prehistoric ritual, ceremonial and funerary practices.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Roberts, I ((Ed.)), Ferrybridge Henge: The Ritual Landscape – Archaeological Investigations at the Site of the Holmfield Interchange of the A1 Motorway, (2005)
CBA Forum, CBA Group 4 Newsletter (1990), p35-36.
CBA Forum, CBA Group 4 Newsletter (1991), p15.
Historic England Archive, RCHME National Mapping Programme: Ferrybridge Henge Project (Collection UID 922907 and 1082880).

Source: Historic England

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