Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn 450m south-east of Castle Folds

A Scheduled Monument in Orton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4748 / 54°28'29"N

Longitude: -2.5375 / 2°32'15"W

OS Eastings: 365264.712891

OS Northings: 508962.699488

OS Grid: NY652089

Mapcode National: GBR BJQP.FN

Mapcode Global: WH93B.ZSTD

Entry Name: Round cairn 450m south-east of Castle Folds

Scheduled Date: 23 November 1964

Last Amended: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011150

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23620

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Orton

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Orton with Tebay All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument is a round cairn located at the southern edge of limestone upland
450m south-east of Castle Folds. It includes a slightly oval mound of partly
turf-covered limestone rubble up to 2.3m high with maximum dimensions of 17.8m
by 16.5m. At the monument's centre is an oval hollow created by limited
antiquarian investigation. This investigation located a rock-cut grave
measuring 2.45m by 1.45m by 0.6m deep containing a male skeleton over 1.8m
tall placed on the left side with the hands up to the face. At the crown of
the head was a triangular chert implement. Three secondary burials, described
by the excavator as Anglian (mid-5th to mid-11th centuries AD), were also
located. Two of these burials were in shallow stone-lined graves.
An information sign at the monument's centre is excluded from the scheduling
but the ground beneath it 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

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 limited antiquarian investigation of the monument's centre, the round
cairn 450m south-east of Castle Folds survives reasonably well. It is a rare
example in Cumbria of a Bronze Age round cairn re-used in the early medieval
period and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within
the mound and upon the old land surface beneath.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Greenwell, W , British Barrows, (1877), 394
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)
SMR No. 1969, Cumbria SMR, Cairn 400m SE of Castle Folds, (1985)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Pathfinder Series Tebay and Kirkby Stephen
Source Date:
Sheet NY 60/70 Pathfinder 607

Source: Historic England

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