Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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A bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, 600m east of Aldro Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0561 / 54°3'22"N

Longitude: -0.7562 / 0°45'22"W

OS Eastings: 481520.193855

OS Northings: 462955.630513

OS Grid: SE815629

Mapcode National: GBR RP5J.2R

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.C95V

Entry Name: A bowl barrow on Birdsall Wold, 600m east of Aldro Farm

Scheduled Date: 15 January 1931

Last Amended: 27 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007402

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20480

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Birdsall

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: West Buckrose

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a bowl barrow situated on the crest of Birdsall Wold,
near the head of Vessey Pasture Dale. The barrow is one of a number of
prehistoric monuments on Birdsall Wold.
Although altered in the 1930's by the construction of a reservoir whose brick
and concrete foundations are set into the mound, the barrow still survives to
a height of about 1m. The circular outline of a 26m diameter ditch surrounding
the mound is visible on aerial photographs and this feature as well as the
outer edges of the mound are thought not to have been disturbed in recent
The barrow was recorded and partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1866 who
recovered the contents of 14 burials from a deep grave in the centre of the
barrow; any burials at the periphery of the mound are thought to remain
The above-ground structure of the reservoir is excluded from the scheduling
although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Although the barrow has been partially altered by the construction of
foundations for a reservoir, it was comparatively well documented during a
campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. Part of the mound survives and
buried features such as the encircling ditch are known to remain intact.
The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows which have
further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks on Birdsall
Wold. Similar groups of monuments are also known from other parts of the Wolds
and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations between
monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land for
social, ritual and agricultural purposes in different geographical areas
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Stoetz, K., RCHME Survey,

Source: Historic England

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