Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Towerbrae round cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Askerton, Cumbria

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Latitude: 55.048 / 55°2'52"N

Longitude: -2.6767 / 2°40'36"W

OS Eastings: 356857.286545

OS Northings: 572821.089928

OS Grid: NY568728

Mapcode National: GBR 9BR2.97

Mapcode Global: WH7ZF.VCJZ

Entry Name: Towerbrae round cairn

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1973

Last Amended: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015733

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27758

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Askerton

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lanercostwith Kirkcambeck St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Towerbrea round cairn. It is located in a prominent
situation on the fellside from where there are extensive views particularly to
the north, west and south. It includes a turf covered circular mound of stones
measuring 32m in diameter and up to 2.5m high on the downslope western side
and 1m high on the upslope eastern side. The surface of the cairn displays
numerous undulations which indicate small scale stone robbing or quarrying. On
the northern edge of the monument's summit there is a modern flat topped stone
memorial cairn.
The memorial cairn 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 some small scale stone robbing or quarrying, Towerbrae round cairn
survives reasonably well and will contain undisturbed archaeological deposits
within the mound and upon the old landsurface beneath. The cairn lies close to
other prehistoric monuments on the fells around Bewcastle and thus indicates
the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument
classes to be found here.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hodgson, K S, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Some Notes on Prehistoric Remains in the Border District, , Vol. XLIII, (1943), 170
Charlesworth,D.C., AM Records Form - Towerbrae Cairn, (1972)
Darvill,T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Bowl Barrows, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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