Ancient Monuments

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Mayburgh henge

A Scheduled Monument in Yanwath and Eamont Bridge, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6487 / 54°38'55"N

Longitude: -2.7466 / 2°44'47"W

OS Eastings: 351920.184951

OS Northings: 528427.864204

OS Grid: NY519284

Mapcode National: GBR 9G8P.5C

Mapcode Global: WH81B.SF83

Entry Name: Mayburgh henge

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1882

Last Amended: 22 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007902

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23647

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Yanwath and Eamont Bridge

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Clifton St Cuthbert

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is Mayburgh henge. It is located upon a low knoll of glacial
drift a short distance from the confluence of the Rivers Eamont and Lowther,
and includes a stone bank enclosing a flat circular area within which there is
a large standing stone.
The bank is composed of water-worn stones presumably removed from the River
Eamont, and varies in size between 33.7m wide and 3.8m high externally on the
northern side, to 45m wide and 7.3m high externally on the southern side.
There is an entrance 12.5m wide on the eastern side which narrows to 6.2m wide
as it approaches the interior. The henge is virtually circular in plan with a
comparatively flat internal area measuring 90m from north to south by 87.5m
from east to west. Approximately 10m north west of the centre of the monument
is an upstanding granite stone measuring 2.79m high by 1.82m maximum width,
which is the only survivor of eight similar stones recorded within the henge
during the mid 17th century; four of which stood close to the centre
and four of which were located in the entrance. An axe-head of brass or bronze
was reportedly found during ploughing of the monument's interior in the late
18th century, and about one hundred years later a broken polished stone axe of
the Langdale type was found beneath the turf in the entrance. The monument is
in the guardianship of the Secretary of State.
Garden fences on the western side of the monument are excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic
period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval-
shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a
ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the
interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features
including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or
central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide
important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types
of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in
which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the
exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally
situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are
rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of
identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all
henges are considered to be of national importance.

Mayburgh henge is a very unusual type of henge; its enclosing bank is much
larger and more monumental than is normally the case. Additionally it would
not appear to have had an internal ditch. Despite the removal of some of the
stones in the centre of the site and limited quarrying of the surrounding
bank, this site survives well and remains a visually impressive monument in
the landscape. It is also one of a group of three henges near the confluence
of the Eamont and Lowther rivers.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Aubrey, J, Monumenta Britannica, (1981), 113-4
Topping, P, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in The Penrith Henges: A Survey By the RCHME, , Vol. 58, (1992), 249-64
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Henges, (1989)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

Source: Historic England

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