Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Greenlands barrow group: five bowl barrows on Toisland Wold, 500m east of Toisland Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Birdsall, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0598 / 54°3'35"N

Longitude: -0.7247 / 0°43'29"W

OS Eastings: 483571.069011

OS Northings: 463396.384559

OS Grid: SE835633

Mapcode National: GBR RPCH.WF

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.V722

Entry Name: Greenlands barrow group: five bowl barrows on Toisland Wold, 500m east of Toisland Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007567

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20509

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 group of five bowl barrows situated on the crest of
Toisland Wold, in an area known as Greenlands. The barrow group is one of a
number of prehistoric monuments at the eastern end of Birdsall Wold.
Although the barrows have been altered by agricultural activity and none is
visible as an earthwork, the circular ditches surrounding the barrows are
visible on aerial photographs. The ditches range in diameter from 8m to 22m,
defining the outlines of four barrows lying in a line (on a north-easterly
alignment) and one barrow lying just south-east of the line of four. The
ditches were dug to provide material for the construction of the mounds. These
mounds have been levelled over the years while the ditches have become
infilled. Despite this, there is no evidence that the below-ground remains of
any of the barrows have been disturbed; the buried ditch and the contents of
burial pits will remain undisturbed.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 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 barrows have all been partially altered by agricultural activity,
below-ground remains of the encircling ditch and the contents of grave pits,
as well as any archaeological features between the barrows will survive
The monument is a closely associated group of five barrows which has 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


Stoetz, K., RCHME Survey,
Stoetz, K., RCHME unpublished survey,

Source: Historic England

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