Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Widow Howe: two round barrows on Widow Howe Rigg

A Scheduled Monument in Goathland, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3881 / 54°23'17"N

Longitude: -0.6777 / 0°40'39"W

OS Eastings: 485962.948783

OS Northings: 499982.775149

OS Grid: SE859999

Mapcode National: GBR RKQP.2R

Mapcode Global: WHGB9.KYHX

Entry Name: Widow Howe: two round barrows on Widow Howe Rigg

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1966

Last Amended: 15 April 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021298

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35907

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Goathland

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Goathland St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes two adjacent round barrows which are situated on
Middle Jurassic sandstone on the North York Moors. It occupies an area of
level ground in a prominent ridge-top position.

Widow Howe is the larger of the two barrows. It has a sub-circular earthen
mound which measures 17m in diameter and stands up to 1.7m high. Partial
excavation in the past has left a hollow in the centre of the mound.
Surrounding the mound, there is a ditch which is visible as a shallow
depression around the south western half of the mound. Originally this
would have been up to 3m wide and much deeper than it is today, but it has
silted up over the years. The second barrow lies 22m to the north of Widow
Howe. It has an uneven earthen mound which measures 6m in diameter and
stands up to 0.9m high. The route of an old footpath passes to the
immediate north of the northern barrow in an east to west direction, and
is visible as a shallow hollow way.

The two barrows lie in an area where there are many other prehistoric
monuments, particularly burials which are often located in prominent and
highly visible locations in the landscape.

The bird rearing pen which is located on the east side of Widow Howe is
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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

Despite limited disturbance, Widow Howe and the second adjacent round
barrow have survived well. Significant information about the original form
of the barrows and the burials placed within them will be preserved.
Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will also
survive beneath the mounds, and within the buried ditch.

The barrows lie in an area where there are many other prehistoric burial
monuments. The association with similar monuments provides insight into
the distribution of ritual and funerary activity across the landscape
during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

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