Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round barrow and gallows site known as Butter Howe

A Scheduled Monument in Lythe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.5247 / 54°31'28"N

Longitude: -0.7232 / 0°43'23"W

OS Eastings: 482735.23113

OS Northings: 515125.421497

OS Grid: NZ827151

Mapcode National: GBR RJD3.7T

Mapcode Global: WHF8K.VJSN

Entry Name: Round barrow and gallows site known as Butter Howe

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016963

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32493

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Lythe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Lythe with Sandsend

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a round barrow situated in a prominent position at the
top of a north facing slope overlooking the cliffs at Kettleness.
The barrow has an earth and stone mound which stands up to 1.1m high. It is
oval in shape and measures 18m east to west by 13m north to south. The top of
the mound is flat and there is a hollow to the west of the centre which was
caused by part excavation in 1918 by W Hornsby and J D Laverick. This
excavation uncovered a cremation and an inhumation as well as a platform of
sandstone slabs close to the surface, which the excavators interpreted as the
site of a later gallows. On the north side of the mound there is an old
footpath running alongside the field boundary which has become hollowed with
The barrow lies in an area rich in prehistoric monuments, including further
barrows and standing stones.
The field boundary fence which runs to the north of the barrow is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the fence posts 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 barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to
the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC.
They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often
superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit
regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are
over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already
been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area
where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl
or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite limited disturbance, the barrow known as Butter Howe has survived
well. Significant information about the original form of the barrow and the
burials placed within it will be preserved, particularly beneath the area of
the sandstone platform. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive
beneath the barrow mound. The barrow is situated close to a group of other
burial monuments which also includes standing stones, and clusters such as
these provide important insight into the development of ritual and funerary
practice during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 91
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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