Ancient Monuments

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Square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Brompton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2694 / 54°16'9"N

Longitude: -0.5976 / 0°35'51"W

OS Eastings: 491431.538871

OS Northings: 486881.514295

OS Grid: SE914868

Mapcode National: GBR SM82.F9

Mapcode Global: WHGBX.SYMC

Entry Name: Square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor Hall

Scheduled Date: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020757

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35439

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Brompton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Snainton St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a square barrow which is situated in a prominent
position towards the northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. It lies on
level ground which overlooks Troutsdale.

The barrow has a flat-topped earth and stone mound which stands up to 0.8m
high. It is sub-square in plan with a side measuring 8m, and is oriented
approximately north west to south east. Partial excavation in the past has
left a hollow in the centre of the mound. The north western side of the
mound has been distorted by animal burrowing. The mound was originally
surrounded by a ditch, which is visible as a shallow depression, up to 2m
wide and 0.3m deep, around the south western, south eastern and north
eastern sides of the mound. The barrow lies in an area where there are
many other prehistoric burial monuments, including both round and square
barrows, as well as the remains of prehistoric land division.

The boundary fence which runs north east to south west past the south
eastern corner of the barrow lies beyond the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Square barrows are funerary monuments of the Middle Iron Age, most examples
dating from the period between c.500 BC and c.50 BC. The majority of these
monuments are found in the area between the River Humber and the southern
slopes of the North Yorkshire Moors but a wider distribution has also been
identified, principally through aerial photography, spreading through the
river valleys of the Midlands and south Essex. Around 200 square barrow
cemeteries have been recorded; in addition, a further 250 sites consisting of
single barrows or small groups of barrows have been identified.
Square barrows, which may be square or rectangular, were constructed as
earthen mounds surrounded by a ditch and covering one or more bodies. Slight
banks around the outer edge of the ditch have been noted in some examples. The
main burial is normally central and carefully placed in a rectangular or oval
grave pit, although burials placed on the ground surface below the mound are
also known.
A number of different types of burial have been identified, accompanied by
grave goods which vary greatly in range and type. The most elaborate include
the dismantled parts of a two-wheeled vehicle placed in the grave with the
body of the deceased.
Ploughing and intensive land use since prehistoric times have eroded and
levelled most square barrows and very few remain as upstanding monuments,
although the ditches and the grave pits, with their contents, will survive
beneath the ground surface. The different forms of burial and the variations
in the type and range of artefacts placed in the graves provide important
information on the beliefs, social organisation and material culture of these
Iron Age communities and their development over time. All examples of square
barrows which survive as upstanding earthworks, and a significant proportion
of the remainder, are considered of national importance and worthy of

Despite limited disturbance, the square barrow 480m north east of Cockmoor
Hall has survived well. Significant information about the original form of
the barrow, the burials placed beneath it and any rituals associated with
its construction and use will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use
and the contemporary environment will also survive beneath the barrow
mound and within the lower ditch fills.

This barrow is a rare example of a square barrow surviving as an
upstanding earthwork, and it will preserve a range of evidence within and
upon the flat-topped mound which does not survive on the plough-flattened
examples elsewhere. It is one of only a few to be identified to the west
of Wykeham Forest, where there is a greater concentration. It will provide
valuable insight into cultural development during the Iron Age. The barrow
lies close to a prehistoric linear boundary and a group of five round
barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the two types
of barrow, and between the barrows and the linear boundary, are of
considerable importance for understanding the development of later
prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Northern Archaeological Associates, , North York Moors Forest Survey Phase Two, (1996)
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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