Esh's round barrow: a long barrow and later bowl barrow 400m north of Cross Thorns Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011576

Date first listed: 13-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Esh's round barrow: a long barrow and later bowl barrow 400m north of Cross Thorns Barn
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Luttons

National Grid Reference: SE 95933 68927


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

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Unusually, this Neolithic long barrow was later altered by the addition of an Early Bronze Age bowl barrow, another type of burial mound dating to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Although the barrows have been subsequently altered by agricultural activity, they are still visible as a single slight earthwork. The bowl barrow was comparatively well-documented during campaigns of fieldwork in the 19th century. Further evidence of the structure of the mounds, the flanking ditches of the long barrow, the circular ditch of the bowl barrow and burials placed beneath the mounds, either on the old landsurface or in deep grave pits, will survive. The monument includes one of two closely associated long barrows, and the re- use of the site for the construction of the bowl barrow illustrates a long, probably continuous tradition of burial at one place. The monuments have wider associations with the numerous broadly contemporary funerary monuments and boundary earthworks on the Wolds. 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.


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


The monument includes a Neolithic long barrow, which has a Bronze Age bowl barrow adjoining its western end and is situated on ground which falls gently to the south-east, towards Rabbit Garth Slack. A second long barrow lies 1km to the south of this monument. Although altered by agricultural activity and partially excavated in the 19th century, the barrows are still visible as a single 0.5m high oblong mound, measuring 50m east-west by 25m north-south. The quarry ditches which flanked the long barrow have been infilled by gradual spreading of the mound material but, although they are no longer visible as earthworks, the ditches survive below ground and have been observed on aerial photographs. From the photographs of these ditches it is known that the long barrow measures 35m east-west and has an overall width of 30m at its eastern end which narrows to 20m at its western end. The bowl barrow was first identified by Canon Greenwell and his pupil Robert Mortimer, excavating in 1866, and was also recorded two years later by Robert Mortimer, excavating with his brother J R Mortimer. The bowl barrow comprised a mound of 17m diameter, partially surrounded by a 1m wide quarry ditch, and the south-eastern edge of the mound overlay a foundation trench which originally held the timber facade at the western end of the long barrow. Three burials had been placed on the ground beneath the bowl barrow mound, along with cremation deposits and the scattered bones of at least 3 more individuals; Neolithic pottery was recovered from features relating to the long barrow. The site is known as 'Esh's round barrow', after the tenant who farmed the land in the 1860's.

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: 20558

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kinnes, I A, Longworth, I H, The Greenwell Collection, (1985), 50-51
Kinnes, I A, Longworth, I H, The Greenwell Collection, (1985), 50-1
Hicks, J D, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Esh's Barrow, (1969), 306-13
Hicks, J D, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Esh's Barrow, (1969), 306-313
Stoertz, C, (1992)
Stoertz, K, (1992)

End of official listing