Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Three round cairns 190m south of White Brackens House

A Scheduled Monument in Wharton, Eden

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Latitude: 54.4349 / 54°26'5"N

Longitude: -2.3462 / 2°20'46"W

OS Eastings: 377642.3027

OS Northings: 504444.0756

OS Grid: NY776044

Mapcode National: GBR DK14.VZ

Mapcode Global: WH93M.XSYH

Entry Name: Three round cairns 190m south of White Brackens House

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1964

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007224

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 98

County: Eden

Civil Parish: Wharton

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kirkby Stephen with Mallerstang and Crosby Garrett with Soulby

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes the remains of three Bronze Age round cairns situated just above the south west bank of the River Eden. The northern cairn is the largest and measures approximately 20m in diameter. To the south and south east there are two smaller cairns, both around 7m in diameter, the eastern of the two standing slightly higher at around 0.75m high. All three cairns were partially excavated by Cannon Greenwell in 1866. The first cairn contained deposits of charcoal and worked flint. The small cairn to its south contained a small pottery vessel known as a pygmy cup and the cairn covered a central pit with a stone cover, within which lay a bone pin and the cremated bones of a child.

PastScape Monument No:- 14763
Cumbria HER:- 2021, 2022, 2023

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
The three round cairns south of White Brackens House are good examples. Like many similar round cairns, they have been subjected to partial, antiquarian excavation, but unusually, details concerning these investigations are known. Knowledge of these finds, combined with the earthwork survival of the cairns provides important insights into the character of funerary ritual during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

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