Ancient Monuments

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Beacon Hill round barrow, on the south west side of the cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Croft Baker, North East Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.5534 / 53°33'12"N

Longitude: -0.04 / 0°2'23"W

OS Eastings: 529944.032962

OS Northings: 408099.035584

OS Grid: TA299080

Mapcode National: GBR XW5B.4X

Mapcode Global: WHHHT.CY67

Entry Name: Beacon Hill round barrow, on the south west side of the cemetery

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019865

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34700

County: North East Lincolnshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Croft Baker

Built-Up Area: Cleethorpes

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Cleethorpes St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a prehistoric burial
mound located on the south western side of Cleethorpes cemetery, adjacent to
the World War II cemetery for merchant seamen. In the medieval period, the
round barrow was reused as the site of a beacon.
The round barrow was partly excavated in 1935 by L W Pye and T Sheppard who
uncovered a large number of finds that are now held by the Council's Museum
Service. The mound was described as being 45ft by 25ft by 10ft high (13.7m by
7.6m by 3m). A large undecorated urn containing cremated remains, charcoal and
four smaller urns was found in the centre of the mound, 6ft (1.8m) below the
mound's summit. Each of the four smaller vessels were decorated with various
patterns and contained the cremated remains of a child. Adjacent to the large
urn containing these burials, there was another decorated urn which also
contained the cremated remains of a child. All of these burials date to the
Bronze Age, although uncovered closer to the edge of the mound there was a
small plain bowl of Anglo-Saxon date. This is thought to have been a grave
good accompanying a pagan Anglo-Saxon burial later disturbed by the mound's
use as the site of a beacon, which is documented from 1377. In the immediately
surrounding area, a number of Neolithic flints, including flakes, scrapers and
cores, were also recovered which implies that the barrow could be Neolithic in
The barrow is sited on a low ridge of glacial moraine. It still survives as a
prominent mound which is oval in plan. However, following the excavation, it
stands 1.8m high and is spread to 18m by 10m. It is orientated north west to
south east. Although there are no obvious indications of an encircling ditch,
excavation of other examples of round barrows in the region have shown that
even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground
surface, ditches immediately around the outside of the mound frequently
survive as infilled features, containing additional archaeological deposits.
Beacon Hill is also thought to have been the focus for later Anglo-Saxon
burials and so the monument includes an additional minimum margin of 4m to
allow for such buried remains.
The path surface, garden seats, rubbish bin and their bases are all excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.
The fence line defining the western side of the monument lies immediately
outside the area of protection.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 4 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

Beacons were fires deliberately lit to give early warning of the approach of
hostile forces. They were always sited on prominent positions, usually as part
of a group or chain which together made up a comprehensive early warning
system covering most of the country. Beacons were extensively used during the
medieval period. Their use was formalised by 1325 and although some were used
later, for example at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the
Napoleonic Wars, the system was in decay by the mid 17th century. Beacons were
initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later, barrels of pitch or iron fire
baskets mounted on poles were used, often set on top of earthen mounds.
Beacons were established throughout England with approximately 500 recorded
nationally. Few survive in the form of physical remains, with most known only
form place-name evidence.
Despite its partial excavation, Beacon Hill round barrow on the south west
side of the cemetery is very well-preserved. The excavated burials were all
high up in the body of the mound and are now considered to have been secondary
burials inserted after the barrow's original construction. It is estimated
that over half of the original volume of the mound remains undisturbed. This
will typically retain further secondary burials in addition to the barrow's
primary burial which, given the finds of Neolithic flints, may be particularly
early. The find of an Anglo-Saxon funerary vessel also adds to the importance
of the site as does its later reuse as a beacon.

Source: Historic England


Record cards, Sites & Monuments Record, 1197, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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