Anglo-Saxon cemetery 150m east of Easterford Mill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013515

Date first listed: 04-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Saxon cemetery 150m east of Easterford Mill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Feering

National Grid Reference: TL 86917 19074


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

Reasons for Designation

Beginning in the fifth century AD, there is evidence from distinctive burials and cemeteries, new settlements, and new forms of pottery and metalwork, of the immigration into Britain of settlers from northern Europe, bringing with them new religious beliefs. The Roman towns appear to have gone into rapid decline and the old rural settlement pattern to have been disrupted. Although some Roman settlements and cemeteries continued in use, the native Britons rapidly adopted many of the cultural practices of the new settlers and it soon becomes difficult to distinguish them in the archaeological record. So-called Anglo-Saxon cemeteries are dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period, from the fifth to the seventh centuries AD. With the conversion to Christianity during the late sixth and seventh centuries AD, these pagan cemeteries appear to have been abandoned in favour of new sites, some of which have continued in use up to the present day. Burial practices included both inhumation and cremation. Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemeteries consist predominantly of inhumation burials which were placed in rectangular pits in the ground, occasionally within coffins. The bodies were normally accompanied by a range of grave goods, including jewellery and weaponry. The cemeteries vary in size, the largest containing several hundred burials. Around 1000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of our principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.

Although ploughed over, the graves in the Anglo-Saxon cemetery east of Easterford Mill will survive well below the ploughsoil. The cemetery combines both flat inhumation burials and barrows. The graves and ditches will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the funerary practices and social systems of the community which buried their dead here, as well as the landscape in which the monuments were constructed.


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


The monument includes part of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery situated on the river gravels which rise to the east of the River Blackwater, overlooking the valley. The cemetery includes at least four ring ditches with central graves. These are visible as cropmarks revealed by aerial photography. Originally these burials had earthwork mounds over the central graves, the material for the mounds being derived from the surrounding ditches. Further flat burials between the ring ditches, which were never marked by mounds, are also indicated on aerial photographs. The largest ring ditch lies on the western edge of the group. Cropmark evidence indicates the presence of a central pit or grave surrounded by a circular ditch with a diameter of c.25m. The northernmost ring ditch has a central grave and a diameter of c.15m. The central ring ditch is the smallest of the group and has a diameter of c.5m. The southernmost ring ditch has a large, circular central pit or grave c.8m in diameter which in turn is surrounded by a circular ditch c.18m in diameter. Between the ring ditches, cropmarks indicate the positions of large numbers of pits identified as flat burials. Skeletal material was recovered from the area directly to the south west of the monument during gravel quarrying.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 24866

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Essex: Volume I, (1903), 327
The Victoria History of the County of Essex: Volume I, (1903)
Hull, M R, The Victoria History of the County of Essex, (1960)
Powell, W R, The Victoria History of the County of Essex, (1963)
Powell, W R, The Victoria History of the County of Essex, (1963), 150
Cambridge University Collection, BXN34, (1976)
National Monument Record, SF1573-191,193,194,196,199, (1979)

End of official listing