Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Three hlaews 400m north east of Overhill Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Beddingham, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8347 / 50°50'4"N

Longitude: 0.0942 / 0°5'39"E

OS Eastings: 547566.163192

OS Northings: 105994.451586

OS Grid: TQ475059

Mapcode National: GBR LRX.LMS

Mapcode Global: FRA C62W.QJZ

Entry Name: Three hlaews 400m north east of Overhill Lodge

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009960

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25493

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Beddingham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: West Firle St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a group of three Anglo-Saxon hlaews or burial mounds,
aligned broadly north-south and situated on a ridge of the Sussex Downs,
around 1.25km to the south of the village of West Firle.
The ridge commands extensive views of the Weald to the north and the English
Channel to the south.
The northernmost hlaew has a circular mound 9m in diameter and 0.3m high. A
slight, central hollow indicates that it has been partially excavated some
time in the past.
Lying around 13m to the south west, the centrally placed hlaew of the group
has a mound 8m in diameter and 0.3m high, also with a slight, central hollow.
The southernmost hlaew lies 2m to the south and has a circular mound 7m in
diameter and 0.4m high. Partial excavation some years ago has left a large
hollow in its centre.
Each of the three mounds is surrounded by a ditch from which material used to
construct the hlaews was excavated. These have become infilled over the years,
but survive as buried features around 1.5m wide.

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

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur
in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they
served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some
were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically
located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information
on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only
between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a
rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy
of preservation.

Although each of the three hlaews 400m north east of Overhill Lodge shows
signs of disturbance by partial excavation, they survive comparatively well,
and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to
the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. Their close
association with broadly contemporary and earlier, Bronze Age and Neolithic
burial mounds along the ridge to the west and east, provides evidence for the
continuing importance of this area of downland for funerary and ceremonial
practices over of a period of around 3000 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Sussex Barrows, , Vol. 75, (1934), 267

Source: Historic England

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