Hanging Grimston barrow group: four bowl barrows and part of a cross dyke 600m SSW of Thixendale Grange


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


Ordnance survey map of Hanging Grimston barrow group: four bowl barrows and part of a cross dyke 600m SSW of Thixendale Grange
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008484.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Nov-2019 at 08:02:30.


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

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 81596 60315

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.

These bowl barrows lie on, or close to the line of a cross dyke which is part of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which has been recorded on the Wolds.

The construction of these dykes is thought to span the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. Current interpretations favour the view that they were used to define territorial landholdings 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 barrow group probably served as a sub-division of the top of the Wold.

The largest barrow of this group is still clearly visible and was also comparatively well documented during a campaign of fieldwork in the 19th century. Although the other barrows and the cross dyke have been levelled by agricultural activity, below ground remains (surrounding ditch, grave pits, which may be up to 2m deep, and burials) will survive. Additionally, the areas between the mounds will retain evidence for ritual activity in the vicinity of the barrows, during their construction and subsequent use.

The monument is one of a closely associated group of barrows which have further associations with broadly contemporary boundary earthworks in the vicinity of Hanging Grimston. Similar groups of monuments 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 in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period. 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 a degree of continuity of land divisions from at least the Early Bronze Age into the Roman period.


The monument includes a group of four bowl barrows which lie close to a length of a cross dyke which was later constructed across the Wold from Milham Dale. The barrows are among several situated on the south eastern spur of Deepdale Wold and they also lie between 30m and 150m east of the later 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 all four barrows have been altered by agricultural activity, the largest is still visible as a mound 1m high and 34m in diameter. A ditch 28m in diameter surrounds the mound; although it has become infilled over the years and is no longer visible at ground level, this ditch was partially excavated by J R Mortimer in 1864 and 1868 and has also been identified on aerial photographs. Mortimer also recorded a cremation burial in a shallow grave pit beneath the mound.

Eighty metres west of this barrow, on top of a slight natural ridge which runs north east to south west across the field, lies an adjacent pair of small barrows, each 17m in diameter. The smaller barrows are no longer visible as earthworks but the below ground remains of the ditches, from which material for the construction of the mounds was obtained, have been identified on aerial photographs. Also, burials in deep pits are a common feature of barrows in this area and these will survive intact.

The fourth barrow is also no longer identifiable as a mound, although its infilled ditch is visible from the air. This barrow lies about 80m south of the above pair and has a diameter of 20m.

The cross dyke was later constructed from Milham Dale south west across the top of the Wold. The largest barrow straddles the line of the dyke which then runs mid way between the others; the pair of small barrows lies 30m north west of the dyke and the fourth barrow 30m south east of it. Although no longer visible as an earthwork, the cross dyke has been observed on aerial photographs and comprises a single ditch, estimated to be at least 5m wide and originally flanked on each side by a bank composed of soil dug from the ditch. Mortimer's excavation of the largest barrow showed that the dyke did not cut through the centre of the mound and, therefore, it will have skirted around the barrow in the manner attested from other similar monuments on the Wolds.

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
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 106
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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].