Ancient Monuments

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Bleasdale Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield

A Scheduled Monument in Bleasdale, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.9084 / 53°54'30"N

Longitude: -2.6452 / 2°38'42"W

OS Eastings: 357710.505608

OS Northings: 445993.745826

OS Grid: SD577459

Mapcode National: GBR 9RZ7.3P

Mapcode Global: WH966.B1M3

Entry Name: Bleasdale Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1924

Last Amended: 8 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011678

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23749

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Bleasdale

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Bleasdale St Eadmer

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes Bleasdale Circle Bronze Age urnfield. It is located on
the summit of a gently rounded plateau situated between the two head streams
of the River Brock, and now lies within a small plantation that is surrounded
by partly drained boggy pasture which until quite recently was a peat moss
known as Edmarsh. It includes a ditched enclosure with a central mound
containing cremation urns. There is a causeway crossing the eastern side of
the encircling ditch and the whole was surrounded by a palisaded enclosure.
Limited excavations of the site between 1898-1900 and 1933-35 found the timber
palisade to be approximately circular and measure c.50m in diameter with an
entrance on the south west side. Within the eastern side of this palisaded
enclosure excavation found an earthen mound approximately 16m in diameter
surrounded on all sides except the east, where there was a causeway, by a
timber-lined flat bottomed ditch. At the centre of this mound was a grave
within which were two inverted cremation urns, both containing charcoal and
cremated bone, but the larger also containing a small incense or pygmy cup.
Surrounding the central grave were 11 oak posts forming a ring c.11m in
diameter. Additional timber posts flanked the sides of the causeway giving an
entrance to this inner structure.
The monument was partly reconstructed after the 1930's excavation. In its
present form concrete posts have been used to represent the oak posts of the
entrance and inner stucture. The inner ditch is flat-bottomed and measures
c.2m-3m wide by 1m deep. An encircling outer ditch up to 0.2m deep with an
outer bank up to 0.4m high represents the ditch within which the palisade was

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

An enclosed Bronze Age urnfield is a burial ground in which cremations,
usually placed in cinerary urns, were interred within a circular enclosure up
to 30m in diameter. This was formed by either a ditch, a bank, or a bank
within a stone circle. There was normally an entrance or causeway allowing
access into the enclosure, where a central mound or standing stone is
sometimes found. Excavated examples are known to date to the Middle Bronze Age
between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. Enclosed Bronze Age urnfields are
largely found in the north of England, mainly in Yorkshire, Cumbria and
Northumberland, although their distribution also extends into Scotland. They
are a rare type of Bronze Age burial monument, with fewer than 50 identified
examples and provide an important insight into beliefs and social organisation
during this period. All positively identified examples are considered to be
nationally important

Despite considerable excavation and reconstruction of this monument, Bleasdale
Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield still retains in situ remains which would
further contribute to our understanding of this class of monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dawkins, B, 'Trans Lancs and Chesh Antiq Soc' in , , Vol. 18, (1900), 114-24
Varley, W J, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal, , Vol. 18, (1938), 154-71
FMW Report, Capstick, B, The Bleasdale Circle, (1993)
Overy, C.G.D., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Enclosed Bronze Age Urnfields, (1990)
SMR No., Lancs SMR, Bleasdale Circle, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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