Round cairn on Dunmail Raise


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011353

Date first listed: 06-Nov-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn on Dunmail Raise
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: St. John's Castlerigg and Wythburn

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Lakes

National Park: LAKE DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: NY 32726 11711


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite 19th century disturbance to the monument caused by road improvements, the round cairn on Dunmail Raise survives reasonably well. It will retain undisturbed archaeological deposits within the oval platform on which the cairn stands and upon the old landsurface beneath.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument is a round cairn located at the summit of Dunmail Raise on the central reservation of a stretch of dual carriageway of the A591. It includes a conical mound of stones up to 4m high, with maximum dimensions of 18.5m by 15.5m, which sits on a low lichen-covered oval platform of stones up to 0.5m high with maximum dimensions of 23m by 20.5m. According to local tradition the cairn was built either as a tumulus for Dunmail, last king of Cumbria, or as a marker for the battlefield of Dunmail and Edmund, the Saxon king, in 934 AD.

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: 22556

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Cumb Assn for Adv of Lit and Sci' in Cumb Assn for Adv of Lit and Sci, , Vol. 9, (), 60
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fancy Barrows, (1988)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)
Saunders, A.D., AM Records Form, (1970)
SMR No. 1239, Cumbria SMR, Cairn on Dunmail Raise, (1985)

End of official listing