Ancient Monuments

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Claughton hlaew in Sandhole Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Claughton, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.8762 / 53°52'34"N

Longitude: -2.7425 / 2°44'32"W

OS Eastings: 351281.811111

OS Northings: 442471.772978

OS Grid: SD512424

Mapcode National: GBR 9R9M.17

Mapcode Global: WH850.VT7V

Entry Name: Claughton hlaew in Sandhole Wood

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018918

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27843

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Claughton

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Garstang St Helen, Churchtown

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The monument includes Claughton hlaew in Sandhole Wood, a 10th century AD
Viking burial mound. It is constructed of sand and measures approximately 17m
east-west by 13m north-south and up to 0.3m high. A ditch which is considered
to have originally surrounded the mound still survives as an earthwork 3m wide
by 0.1m deep on its south side; on its east and north sides this ditch has
been infilled whilst on its south side it has been destroyed by sand
quarrying. The mound was disturbed during construction of a new road in 1822.
It was found to contain a wooden box within which was an iron axe and hammer,
an iron sword and spearhead, a perforated stone axe-hammer, and a wooden case
containing an ornamental metal box within which was a brooch, beads and a
tooth. Antiquarian reports stated that a cinerary urn containing a cremation
was also found but that the urn was not preserved, suggesting that the hlaew
may originally have been a prehistoric bowl barrow reused during the 10th
All fence posts 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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur
in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they
served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some
were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically
located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information
on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only
between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a
rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy
of preservation.

Bowl 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which
covered single or multiple burials. 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 organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.
Despite being disturbed by a combination of road construction, sand quarrying
and tree root activity, Claughton hlaew still survives as a low earthwork.
Disturbance during the 19th century revealed human remains together with
objects of metal, wood and stone, and further evidence of interments and grave
goods will exist within the mound and upon the old landsurface beneath.

Source: Historic England


SMR No. 119, Lancashire SMR, Claughton Hall, (1984)

Source: Historic England

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