Ancient Monuments

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Hanging Grimston barrow group: a long barrow 400m east of Wold Farm, incorporating part of a prehistoric linear boundary

A Scheduled Monument in Thixendale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0376 / 54°2'15"N

Longitude: -0.7673 / 0°46'2"W

OS Eastings: 480827.532905

OS Northings: 460883.616004

OS Grid: SE808608

Mapcode National: GBR RP2R.PC

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.5SW2

Entry Name: Hanging Grimston barrow group: a long barrow 400m east of Wold Farm, incorporating part of a prehistoric linear boundary

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 9 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007922

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20569

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thixendale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirby Underdale All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a long barrow which is associated with several later
bowl barrows situated on Deepdale Wold. The long barrow lies on the line of a
later linear boundary dyke, part of which is included in the monument. One
hundred and fifty metres to the west of this monument is the Roman road
between Malton and Brough; the distribution of Neolithic and Bronze Age burial
mounds parallel to the road is evidence that the Romans were continuing to use
an established prehistoric route across the Wolds.

Although altered by agricultural activity, the barrow is now visible as a
roughly circular mound 1.5m high and 35m in diameter. The barrow was recorded
and partially excavated in 1868, by J R Mortimer, who described the below-
ground remains of the barrow in detail. The originally oblong mound measured
23.8m east-west by 15.2m north-south and was flanked by ditches, each 8.2m
wide and nearly 2m deep. The foundation trench of a timber facade was found
at the eastern end of the mound and the burial chamber had been dug up to 2m
below the ground surface.

The later linear boundary dyke extends to the north-west and south-east of the
long barrow and was constructed from Deepdale Wold, via Greenlands, towards
Uncleby Stoop. Although it has been altered by ploughing and is no longer
visible as an earthwork, the infilled ditch of the linear boundary has been
identified on aerial photographs, From the evidence of other linear
boundaries in the vicinity, this dyke will have comprised a single ditch,
about 3m wide, with the material excavated from the ditch used to build
flanking banks up to 3m wide on one or both sides of the ditch. Mortimer's
excavation of the long barrow showed that the dyke did not cut through the
earlier burial mound and the dyke will therefore have skirted around the
barrow. Where the linear boundary lies close to the long barrow, it is
included in the scheduling.

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

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking
ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic
periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early
farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments
surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows
appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the
human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide
evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and,
consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites
for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long
barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic
structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their
considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are
considered to be nationally important.

The Hanging Grimston long barrow was later incorporated into a linear boundary
earthwork which is part of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which have
been recorded on the Wolds. The construction of these dykes is thought to
span the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been
re-used later. Current interpretations favour the view that they were used to
define territorial land holdings and also sub-divisions of such holdings; in
the latter case they defined areas of land used for different purposes. The
dyke associated with the long barrow appears to have fulfilled the former
function, defining a boundary along the western edge of Deepdale Wold.
Another prehistoric earthwork, the Queen Dike, originally subdivided the top
of the Wold.

The monument includes the only positively identified long barrow amongst the
group of Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age round barrows and later boundary
earthworks in the vicinity of Hanging Grimston. Similar groups of sites 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. Additionally, some of the barrows in the Hanging Grimston area are
distributed parallel to a line later adopted by a Roman road; this
distribution implies some continuity of land-divisions from at least the Early
Bronze Age into the Roman period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,

Source: Historic England

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