Bleasdale Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011678

Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Bleasdale Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Wyre (District Authority)

Parish: Bleasdale

National Grid Reference: SD 57711 45994


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

Reasons for Designation

An enclosed Bronze Age urnfield is a burial ground in which cremations, usually placed in cinerary urns, were interred within a circular enclosure up to 30m in diameter. This was formed by either a ditch, a bank, or a bank within a stone circle. There was normally an entrance or causeway allowing access into the enclosure, where a central mound or standing stone is sometimes found. Excavated examples are known to date to the Middle Bronze Age between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. Enclosed Bronze Age urnfields are largely found in the north of England, mainly in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland, although their distribution also extends into Scotland. They are a rare type of Bronze Age burial monument, with fewer than 50 identified examples and provide an important insight into beliefs and social organisation during this period. All positively identified examples are considered to be nationally important

Despite considerable excavation and reconstruction of this monument, Bleasdale Circle enclosed Bronze Age urnfield still retains in situ remains which would further contribute to our understanding of this class of monument.


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


The monument includes Bleasdale Circle Bronze Age urnfield. It is located on the summit of a gently rounded plateau situated between the two head streams of the River Brock, and now lies within a small plantation that is surrounded by partly drained boggy pasture which until quite recently was a peat moss known as Edmarsh. It includes a ditched enclosure with a central mound containing cremation urns. There is a causeway crossing the eastern side of the encircling ditch and the whole was surrounded by a palisaded enclosure. Limited excavations of the site between 1898-1900 and 1933-35 found the timber palisade to be approximately circular and measure c.50m in diameter with an entrance on the south west side. Within the eastern side of this palisaded enclosure excavation found an earthen mound approximately 16m in diameter surrounded on all sides except the east, where there was a causeway, by a timber-lined flat bottomed ditch. At the centre of this mound was a grave within which were two inverted cremation urns, both containing charcoal and cremated bone, but the larger also containing a small incense or pygmy cup. Surrounding the central grave were 11 oak posts forming a ring c.11m in diameter. Additional timber posts flanked the sides of the causeway giving an entrance to this inner structure. The monument was partly reconstructed after the 1930's excavation. In its present form concrete posts have been used to represent the oak posts of the entrance and inner stucture. The inner ditch is flat-bottomed and measures c.2m-3m wide by 1m deep. An encircling outer ditch up to 0.2m deep with an outer bank up to 0.4m high represents the ditch within which the palisade was erected.

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: 23749

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dawkins, B, 'Trans Lancs and Chesh Antiq Soc' in , , Vol. 18, (1900), 114-24
Varley, W J, 'Antiquaries Journal' in Antiquaries Journal, , Vol. 18, (1938), 154-71
FMW Report, Capstick, B, The Bleasdale Circle, (1993)
Overy, C.G.D., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Enclosed Bronze Age Urnfields, (1990)
SMR No., Lancs SMR, Bleasdale Circle, (1993)

End of official listing