Ancient Monuments

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Willy Howe round barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Thwing, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.136 / 54°8'9"N

Longitude: -0.3766 / 0°22'35"W

OS Eastings: 506161.520311

OS Northings: 472349.882368

OS Grid: TA061723

Mapcode National: GBR TNTM.83

Mapcode Global: WHGCT.59XL

Entry Name: Willy Howe round barrow

Scheduled Date: 24 May 1951

Last Amended: 25 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008040

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21190

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thwing

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Thwing All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a prehistoric round barrow on the Yorkshire Wolds. The
barrow mound is 15m high, 40m wide east-west and 50m long, north-south. The
mound has a visible central hollow 10m deep, 25m long and 7m wide, the
result of 19th century excavation. During the excavation earth was cast out
from the northern end of the mound to form an access ramp leading to the
mound. This is 7m long and 5m wide. The barrow mound is surrounded by a
heavily silted ditch visible as a depression 20m wide and up to 1.5m deep.
The mound was excavated twice in the 19th century. Lord Londesborough
excavated the mound in 1857; he found nothing and left a stone slab in the
mound as a record of his investigations. Canon Greenwell, the antiquarian,
investigated the site in 1887. He found an empty grave during his
excavations and, since it appeared never to have been disturbed, he suggested
that the barrow was erected as a cenotaph. It has also been suggested that the
mound was reused in the early Middle Ages as a Thing mound, an earthen
mound used for meetings and public debate.
The surface of the metalled farm track which falls within the area of the
scheduling is excluded from it, though 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

Despite partial excavation this barrow survives reasonably well. Excavations
to date have been inconclusive and the unexcavated parts will retain
significant information on the form, manner and duration of its usage.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: The East Riding, (1974), 324
Bonsall, W, Gazetteer of Mesolithic and Upper Palaeolithic sites, (1977), 350
Greenwell, W , British Barrows, (1877), 227
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 23-26
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - York and the East Riding, (1972), 357
Sheahan, , Whellan, , History and Topography of York And The East Riding, (1856), 490
Wright, , Essays on Archaeological Subjects, (1861), 1, 7
Greenwell, W, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , , Vol. 43, (1871), 552
Greenwell, W, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , , Vol. 52, (1890), 22-4
Kinnes, I A, 'Proceedings of the Royal Archaeological Institute' in Willy Howe, (1984), 36

Source: Historic England

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