Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Maiden Castle round cairn, Burnmoor

A Scheduled Monument in Wasdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4377 / 54°26'15"N

Longitude: -3.2583 / 3°15'29"W

OS Eastings: 318481.056303

OS Northings: 505424.530038

OS Grid: NY184054

Mapcode National: GBR 5KP3.CZ

Mapcode Global: WH70X.XQLC

Entry Name: Maiden Castle round cairn, Burnmoor

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008532

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23693

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Wasdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Eskdale St Catherine

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a round cairn known as Maiden Castle. It is located on a local
high point a short distance east of the track linking Eskdale and Wasdale and
lies at the northern end of a large area of open moorland known as Burnmoor
which contains an abundance of prehistoric remains. The cairn includes a
circular turf-covered mound of stones measuring 12m in diameter and up to 0.4m
high. It is topped by the tumbled drystone wall of a circular sheepfold
measuring approximately 7m in diameter. Local tradition states that the site
once functioned as one of a chain of beacons linking Cockermouth and Millom,
and small pieces of charcoal possibly associated with beacon fires have been
found at the north and centre of the sheepfold.

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

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Despite disturbance to the summit of the mound by the addition of a sheepfold,
Maiden Castle round cairn survives reasonably well. It will contain
undisturbed archaeological deposits within the mound and upon the old
land surface beneath. The cairn lies close to other prehistoric monuments and
thus indicates the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the
diversity of monument classes to be found here.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fair, M C, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Notes on the Eskdale Twentyfour Book, , Vol. XXII, (1922), 77-8
Darvill, T, MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Bowl Barrows (1988), (1988)
SMR No. 1329, Cumbria SMR, Maiden Castle, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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