Willy Howe round barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008040

Date first listed: 24-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 25-May-1994


Ordnance survey map of Willy Howe round barrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Burton Fleming

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Thwing

National Grid Reference: TA 06162 72350

Reasons for Designation

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 protection.

Despite partial excavation this barrow survives reasonably well. Excavations to date have been inconclusive and the unexcavated parts will retain significant information on the form, manner and duration of its usage.


The monument includes a prehistoric round barrow on the Yorkshire Wolds. The barrow mound is 15m high, 40m wide east-west and 50m long, north-south. The mound has a visible central hollow 10m deep, 25m long and 7m wide, the result of 19th century excavation. During the excavation earth was cast out from the northern end of the mound to form an access ramp leading to the mound. This is 7m long and 5m wide. The barrow mound is surrounded by a heavily silted ditch visible as a depression 20m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The mound was excavated twice in the 19th century. Lord Londesborough excavated the mound in 1857; he found nothing and left a stone slab in the mound as a record of his investigations. Canon Greenwell, the antiquarian, investigated the site in 1887. He found an empty grave during his excavations and, since it appeared never to have been disturbed, he suggested that the barrow was erected as a cenotaph. It has also been suggested that the mound was reused in the early Middle Ages as a Thing mound, an earthen mound used for meetings and public debate. The surface of the metalled farm track which falls within the area of the scheduling is excluded from it, though the ground beneath is included.

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: 21190

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: The East Riding, (1974), 324
Bonsall, W, Gazetteer of Mesolithic and Upper Palaeolithic sites, (1977), 350
Greenwell, W , British Barrows, (1877), 227
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 23-26
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - York and the East Riding, (1972), 357
Sheahan, , Whellan, , History and Topography of York And The East Riding, (1856), 490
Wright, , Essays on Archaeological Subjects, (1861), 1, 7
Greenwell, W, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , , Vol. 43, (1871), 552
Greenwell, W, 'Archaeologia' in Archaeologia , , Vol. 52, (1890), 22-4
Kinnes, I A, 'Proceedings of the Royal Archaeological Institute' in Willy Howe, (1984), 36

End of official listing