Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Old Wife's Mound round barrow, 750m north west of Low Leaf Howe House

A Scheduled Monument in Cropton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3413 / 54°20'28"N

Longitude: -0.8033 / 0°48'11"W

OS Eastings: 477896.232025

OS Northings: 494630.344734

OS Grid: SE778946

Mapcode National: GBR QLT7.WJ

Mapcode Global: WHF9H.M4PQ

Entry Name: Old Wife's Mound round barrow, 750m north west of Low Leaf Howe House

Scheduled Date: 22 January 1969

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018409

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30149

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cropton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Cropton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial
mound known as Old Wife's Mound, located on the summit of Wrelton Moor. The
barrow survives as an 18m diameter mound rising up to about 0.8m in height
with an irregular central hollow up to 8m across, considered to be the result
of a 19th century antiquarian excavation. The barrow lies 250m NNW of Leaf
Howe, a larger barrow which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for 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 bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of 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

Old Wife's Mound is a good example of a medium sized round barrow. The
majority of round barrows in the region were dug into by 19th century
antiquarians in search of burials and artefacts, leaving behind a central
depression as evidence of their work. However, excavations in the latter half
of the 20th century have shown that round barrows typically contain
archaeological information that survives earlier digging. Secondary burials
tend to be located within the main body of the mound and sometimes one of
these was mistaken for the primary burial which was usually the goal of the
antiquarian. Even when the primary burial has been excavated, further
secondary burials often survive in the undisturbed surrounding part of the
mound. Additional valuable information about the mound's construction and the
local environment at the time of its construction will also survive
antiquarian excavation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 121
Ordinance Survey record card, SE 79 SE 15, (1973)

Source: Historic England

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