Ancient Monuments

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Southern pair of four round barrows known as Three Howes, 765m north east of Toad Hole

A Scheduled Monument in Bransdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3753 / 54°22'30"N

Longitude: -1.0283 / 1°1'42"W

OS Eastings: 463215.780474

OS Northings: 498186.087466

OS Grid: SE632981

Mapcode National: GBR PK8V.5C

Mapcode Global: WHF96.59L6

Entry Name: Southern pair of four round barrows known as Three Howes, 765m north east of Toad Hole

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1968

Last Amended: 5 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019975

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32697

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bransdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkbymoorside All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the earthwork and associated buried remains of a closely
spaced pair of prehistoric burial mounds. Two more round barrows, the subject
of separate schedulings, lie 100m and 180m to the NNW respectively. This group
of four round barrows are sited on the western, highest side of the plateau
forming the highest part of Rudland Rigg. They are known collectively as Three
Howes, as three out of the four barrows are very prominent, forming part of
the skyline from a wide surrounding area.
The pair of round barrows that form the monument are both sited on level
ground, just east of the break of slope down into Bransdale. They are both
intervisible with Golden Heights round barrow 2.4km to the south east. The
south eastern of the pair is the largest of the group. It survives as a steep
sided mound up to 2.4m high which is slightly oval in plan, 21m north-south
and 18m east-west. It appears to be mainly earthen in construction with some
stone showing on the surface up to 0.3m across, along with small quantities of
pebble sized stones. There is a 6m diameter hollow over its centre, the
deepest part of which is a 2m diameter area in the south eastern quadrant that
extends down to 1.2m below the top of the surviving mound. The second round
barrow of the pair is centred 45m to the north west. This is a 15m diameter,
1.8m high mound that has had a 2.5m wide east-west trench cut through the
middle. In the centre of the mound this trench is water filled and
approximately 1m below the highest surviving part of the mound. There is
evidence that the barrow has an outer kerbing of stones, most obviously on the
south side. Around the north eastern outer edge of the barrow there is also a
berm 1m-1.5m wide and 0.1m high standing above the ground surface beyond. The
area between the two barrows is included within the monument because
excavation has shown that such areas frequently retain associated features
such as additional contemporary and later human burials without covering
mounds. Also 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. A
margin to allow for such an infilled ditch up to 3m wide around each barrow is
thus also included within the monument.
Just to the south of the north western barrow, and included in the scheduling,
there is a conical pit some 1.8m deep and 6m diameter at the top which is
surrounded by a horseshoe shape of spoil which is open to the south. This is
interpreted as a mining test pit for coal, another example of which lies just
over 100m to the south west with at least three more examples within 300m to
the north west.

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

The majority of round barrows in the region were dug into by 19th century
antiquarians in search of burials and artifacts, 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 usual 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 and infilled ditch. Additional valuable information about the mound's
construction and the local environment at the time of its construction will
also survive antiquarian excavation.
The southern pair of four round barrows known as Three Howes, 765m north east
of Toad Hole are relatively well-preserved and will retain important
information about Bronze Age society. They also form prominent landscape

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
McDonnell, J, A History of Helmsley Rievaulx and District, (1963), 379

Source: Historic England

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