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Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Home Farm, Sewerby

A Scheduled Monument in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1039 / 54°6'14"N

Longitude: -0.1571 / 0°9'25"W

OS Eastings: 520592.481152

OS Northings: 469127.035276

OS Grid: TA205691

Mapcode National: GBR WNBZ.SM

Mapcode Global: WHHF7.K3DQ

Entry Name: Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Home Farm, Sewerby

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1961

Last Amended: 6 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013625

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26519

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bridlington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Sewerby St John

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an inhumation cemetery dating to the Anglo-Saxon period,
located within the farmyard and grounds of Home Farm at Sewerby, near
Bridlington. It lies in two separate areas and survives only as buried remains
beneath the present ground surface.

The area of the cemetery is thought to cover around one hectare, and is
covered by farm buildings, scrub woodland and agricultural parkland.
The monument was discovered during the course of building the modern farmhouse
and the site was subsequently partly excavated by Philip Rahtz in 1959 for
the then Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. Another small excavation was
undertaken in 1974.

Fifty-nine graves were uncovered in all, irregularly orientated and with about
equal proportions of male and female, including some children and infants.
Most of the graves contained grave offerings, which have assisted dating of
the site to between the mid 6th to mid 7th century AD. Grave goods found
included necklaces of beads and pendants of amber, glass, rock-crystal, shale
and bronze wire; cruciform, square-headed and annular brooches; wrist clasps;
knives; bronze foil and wooden objects; needles, silver plated bronze buckles,
girdle hangers, a shield boss and a silver disc, together with the remains of

Two of the burials were contained within wooden, possibly plank coffins, one
of which at one time probably had a grave marker at its foot, suggested by the
presence of a well-defined post hole.

The second was the skeleton of an adult female, and had a rich array of grave
goods. These included a bronze cauldron, two amber and glass bead necklaces,
three bronze square-headed brooches, a pair of gilt decorated wrist clasps, a
pair of girdle hangers, a pair of triangular bronze pendants, an iron ring and
knife, a wood and shale thread box and the remains of fabric.

This grave was marked by a cairn of chalk blocks, and contained a deep grave
pit, in the upper part of which was discovered a secondary burial of another
adult female, disposed in a manner which has suggested a violent burial.

All modern farm buildings, outbuildings, modern fencing, animal feed troughs
and the surfaces of modern paved footpaths and access roads are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials
and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of
the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with
them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid
decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although
some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons
rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon
becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called
Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the
fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during
the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have
been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up
to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation.
Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials
which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within
coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods,
including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest
containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have
been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of
archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing
information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving
examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered
worthy of protection.

Although some of the burials were excavated in 1959 or 1974, significant areas
of the cemetery remain undisturbed. The unexcavated portions of the monument
will retain significant information on the local population of this area for
the 6th-7th centuries and upon the burial practices of the Anglo-Saxon period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Meaney, A, Gazeteer of Early Anglo Saxon Sites, (1964), 300-1
Hirst, M, 'York Univ. Archaeological Public. 4.' in An Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Cemetery at Sewerby East Yorkshire, (1985)
Bastow, M., AM 107, (1989)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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