Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn, 400m SSW of Bolam church

A Scheduled Monument in Belsay, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1343 / 55°8'3"N

Longitude: -1.8541 / 1°51'14"W

OS Eastings: 409400.212079

OS Northings: 582225.836749

OS Grid: NZ094822

Mapcode National: GBR H9H2.D9

Mapcode Global: WHC2V.H6BS

Entry Name: Round cairn, 400m SSW of Bolam church

Scheduled Date: 7 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011837

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25149

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Belsay

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Bolam St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated
on a low east-west ridge. The cairn, composed of stone and earth, is 11m in
diameter and stands to a maximum height of 1.5m. A large hole in the centre of
the cairn is the remains of a partial antiquarian excavation. An upright
gatepost projects from the centre of the mound clearly indicating the cairn's
subsequent reuse.

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 having been partially excavated in the 19th century, the cairn SSW of
Bolam church survives reasonably well and contains significant archaeological
deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of two
further round cairns in the Bolam area; taken together they will greatly add
to our understanding of Bronze Age activity in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies, J, Davidson, J, 'Northern Archaeology vol 9 1988-89' in A Survey of Bolam and Shaftoe area, Northumberland, (1990), 77
NZ08SE 17,

Source: Historic England

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