Two Saxon burial mounds on Gally Hills, west of Brighton Road


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)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 24975 60746

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 partial excavation of one of the mounds, the hlaews on Gally Hills, west of Brighton Road survive comparatively well. Along with the two adjacent hlaews to the north, which are the subject of a separate scheduling, they form an important group containing archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating both to the barrow mounds and the landscape in which they were constructed and later re-used.


The monument includes two of a group of four Saxon burial mounds or hlaews, aligned broadly east-west and 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 have earthen mounds, the western 13m in diameter and 0.7m high, the eastern 15m across and 1.2m high. Both are surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried 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. The eastern of the two mounds in the group was partially excavated in 1972. Five intrusive or later skeletons were found and are believed to be the victims of the gallows. 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:
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Books and journals
Barfoot, J, Price-Williams, D, 'Surrey Archaeological Society Res.' in The Saxon Barrow at Gally Hills, Banstead Downs, , Vol. 3, (1976), 60-76
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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