Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Maiden's Bower round cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Neville's Cross, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.7787 / 54°46'43"N

Longitude: -1.5905 / 1°35'25"W

OS Eastings: 426437.294278

OS Northings: 542714.456392

OS Grid: NZ264427

Mapcode National: GBR KFB5.GS

Mapcode Global: WHC4Q.J4VY

Entry Name: Maiden's Bower round cairn

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1926

Last Amended: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008843

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25010

County: County Durham

Electoral Ward/Division: Neville's Cross

Built-Up Area: Durham

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Durham St Margaret of Antioch

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes a round cairn of Bronze Age date, situated on the north
eastern end of a ridge overlooking the Wear Valley. The mound is flat-topped,
measures 8.5m in diameter and stands to a maximum height of 1.5m. It is
rather unusual in being surrounded by a level berm 3.5m wide, and there are
traces of a surrounding ditch, 0.3m deep and 2m wide, visible on the
south western side. Elsewhere this is thought to survive as an infilled
feature. The earliest recorded mention of the monument was in 1346 when at the
Battle of Neville's Cross the Durham monks raised the `corporax cloth' of St
Cuthbert there. A wooden cross is reported to have stood on the monument until

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.

Maiden's Bower survives well and contains significant archaeological deposits.
Evidence of the manner of construction, and the nature and duration of its use
will be preserved within and beneath the mound.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Young, R, Wear Valley Prehistory, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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