Ancient Monuments

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Hanging Grimston barrow group: four bowl barrows and part of a cross dyke 600m SSW of Thixendale Grange

A Scheduled Monument in Thixendale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0324 / 54°1'56"N

Longitude: -0.7558 / 0°45'20"W

OS Eastings: 481591.700083

OS Northings: 460319.906723

OS Grid: SE815603

Mapcode National: GBR RP5T.57

Mapcode Global: WHFBW.CXB1

Entry Name: Hanging Grimston barrow group: four bowl barrows and part of a cross dyke 600m SSW of Thixendale Grange

Scheduled Date: 9 September 1958

Last Amended: 18 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008484

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20575

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thixendale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Thixendale St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a group of four bowl barrows which lie close to a length
of a cross dyke which was later constructed across the Wold from Milham Dale.
The barrows are among several situated on the south eastern spur of Deepdale
Wold and they also lie between 30m and 150m east of the later 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 all four barrows have been altered by agricultural activity, the
largest is still visible as a mound 1m high and 34m in diameter. A ditch 28m
in diameter surrounds the mound; although it has become infilled over the
years and is no longer visible at ground level, this ditch was partially
excavated by J R Mortimer in 1864 and 1868 and has also been identified on
aerial photographs. Mortimer also recorded a cremation burial in a shallow
grave pit beneath the mound.

Eighty metres west of this barrow, on top of a slight natural ridge which runs
north east to south west across the field, lies an adjacent pair of small
barrows, each 17m in diameter. The smaller barrows are no longer visible as
earthworks but the below ground remains of the ditches, from which material
for the construction of the mounds was obtained, have been identified on
aerial photographs. Also, burials in deep pits are a common feature of
barrows in this area and these will survive intact.

The fourth barrow is also no longer identifiable as a mound, although its
infilled ditch is visible from the air. This barrow lies about 80m south of
the above pair and has a diameter of 20m.

The cross dyke was later constructed from Milham Dale south west across the
top of the Wold. The largest barrow straddles the line of the dyke which then
runs mid way between the others; the pair of small barrows lies 30m north west
of the dyke and the fourth barrow 30m south east of it. Although no longer
visible as an earthwork, the cross dyke has been observed on aerial
photographs and comprises a single ditch, estimated to be at least 5m wide and
originally flanked on each side by a bank composed of soil dug from the ditch.
Mortimer's excavation of the largest barrow showed that the dyke did not cut
through the centre of the mound and, therefore, it will have skirted around
the barrow in the manner attested from other similar monuments on the Wolds.

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

These bowl barrows lie on, or close to the line of a cross dyke which is part
of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which has been recorded on the

The construction of these dykes is thought to span the millenium from the
Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. Current
interpretations favour the view that they were used to define territorial
landholdings 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 barrow group probably served as a sub-division of the top of the Wold.

The largest barrow of this group is still clearly visible and was also
comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th
century. Although the other barrows and the cross dyke have been levelled by
agricultural activity, below ground remains (surrounding ditch, grave pits,
which may be up to 2m deep, and burials) will survive. Additionally, the
areas between the mounds will retain evidence for ritual activity in the
vicinity of the barrows, during their construction and subsequent use.

The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows which have
further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks in the
vicinity of Hanging Grimston. 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. 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 a degree of 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), 106
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,

Source: Historic England

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