Hanging Grimston barrow group: a long barrow 400m east of Wold Farm, incorporating part of a prehistoric linear boundary


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 80828 60884

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

The Hanging Grimston long barrow was later incorporated into a linear boundary earthwork which is part of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which have been recorded on the Wolds. The construction of these dykes is thought to span the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current interpretations favour the view that they were used to define territorial land holdings and also sub-divisions of such holdings; in the latter case they defined areas of land used for different purposes. The dyke associated with the long barrow appears to have fulfilled the former function, defining a boundary along the western edge of Deepdale Wold. Another prehistoric earthwork, the Queen Dike, originally subdivided the top of the Wold.

The monument includes the only positively identified long barrow amongst the group of Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age round barrows and later boundary earthworks in the vicinity of Hanging Grimston. Similar groups of sites are also known from other parts of the Wolds and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes. Additionally, some of the barrows in the Hanging Grimston area are distributed parallel to a line later adopted by a Roman road; this distribution implies some continuity of land-divisions from at least the Early Bronze Age into the Roman period.


The monument includes a long barrow which is associated with several later bowl barrows situated on Deepdale Wold. The long barrow lies on the line of a later linear boundary dyke, part of which is included in the monument. One hundred and fifty metres to the west of this monument is the Roman road between Malton and Brough; the distribution of Neolithic and Bronze Age burial mounds parallel to the road is evidence that the Romans were continuing to use an established prehistoric route across the Wolds.

Although altered by agricultural activity, the barrow is now visible as a roughly circular mound 1.5m high and 35m in diameter. The barrow was recorded and partially excavated in 1868, by J R Mortimer, who described the below- ground remains of the barrow in detail. The originally oblong mound measured 23.8m east-west by 15.2m north-south and was flanked by ditches, each 8.2m wide and nearly 2m deep. The foundation trench of a timber facade was found at the eastern end of the mound and the burial chamber had been dug up to 2m below the ground surface.

The later linear boundary dyke extends to the north-west and south-east of the long barrow and was constructed from Deepdale Wold, via Greenlands, towards Uncleby Stoop. Although it has been altered by ploughing and is no longer visible as an earthwork, the infilled ditch of the linear boundary has been identified on aerial photographs, From the evidence of other linear boundaries in the vicinity, this dyke will have comprised a single ditch, about 3m wide, with the material excavated from the ditch used to build flanking banks up to 3m wide on one or both sides of the ditch. Mortimer's excavation of the long barrow showed that the dyke did not cut through the earlier burial mound and the dyke will therefore have skirted around the barrow. Where the linear boundary lies close to the long barrow, it is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905)
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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