Two Saxon burial mounds on Gally Hills


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.

Reigate and Banstead (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 24977 60805

Reasons for Designation

A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite some disturbance, the two hlaews at Gally Hills survive comparatively well and, along with the other two adjacent hlaews which are the subject of a separate scheduling, they form an important group containing archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating both to the burial mounds and the landscape in which they were constructed.


The monument includes two of a group of four Saxon burial mounds or hlaews, situated on the crest of a gentle rise at the summit of Banstead Downs, in an area of undulating sands and gravels. The two hlaews are visible as earthen mounds, the northern 13m in diameter and 0.5m high; the southern 8m in diameter and 0.7m high. Surrounding the mounds are ditches from which material was excavated during their construction. These are no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.2m wide. The name "Gally Hills" comes from the use of the mounds for gallows during the 16th century. One of the other mounds in the group, part of a separate scheduling, was partially excavated in 1972; five intrusive or later skeletons were found, and are believed to be the victims of the gallows, and the central rectangular primary grave contained an extended inhumation with a bronze hanging bowl, a shield-boss, a split socketed iron spear-head and an iron knife. The mound was built on a prepared platform of broken flints.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in Surrey Barrows 1934-1987: A Reappraisal, (1987), 28-29


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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