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Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Home Farm, Sewerby

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Home Farm, Sewerby

List entry Number: 1013625


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: East Riding of Yorkshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Bridlington

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 07-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Nov-1995

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 26519

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 some of the burials were excavated in 1959 or 1974, significant areas of the cemetery remain undisturbed. The unexcavated portions of the monument will retain significant information on the local population of this area for the 6th-7th centuries and upon the burial practices of the Anglo-Saxon period.


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


The monument includes an inhumation cemetery dating to the Anglo-Saxon period, located within the farmyard and grounds of Home Farm at Sewerby, near Bridlington. It lies in two separate areas and survives only as buried remains beneath the present ground surface.

The area of the cemetery is thought to cover around one hectare, and is covered by farm buildings, scrub woodland and agricultural parkland. The monument was discovered during the course of building the modern farmhouse and the site was subsequently partly excavated by Philip Rahtz in 1959 for the then Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. Another small excavation was undertaken in 1974.

Fifty-nine graves were uncovered in all, irregularly orientated and with about equal proportions of male and female, including some children and infants. Most of the graves contained grave offerings, which have assisted dating of the site to between the mid 6th to mid 7th century AD. Grave goods found included necklaces of beads and pendants of amber, glass, rock-crystal, shale and bronze wire; cruciform, square-headed and annular brooches; wrist clasps; knives; bronze foil and wooden objects; needles, silver plated bronze buckles, girdle hangers, a shield boss and a silver disc, together with the remains of fabric.

Two of the burials were contained within wooden, possibly plank coffins, one of which at one time probably had a grave marker at its foot, suggested by the presence of a well-defined post hole.

The second was the skeleton of an adult female, and had a rich array of grave goods. These included a bronze cauldron, two amber and glass bead necklaces, three bronze square-headed brooches, a pair of gilt decorated wrist clasps, a pair of girdle hangers, a pair of triangular bronze pendants, an iron ring and knife, a wood and shale thread box and the remains of fabric.

This grave was marked by a cairn of chalk blocks, and contained a deep grave pit, in the upper part of which was discovered a secondary burial of another adult female, disposed in a manner which has suggested a violent burial.

All modern farm buildings, outbuildings, modern fencing, animal feed troughs and the surfaces of modern paved footpaths and access roads are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Meaney, A, Gazeteer of Early Anglo Saxon Sites, (1964), 300-1
Hirst, M, 'York Univ. Archaeological Public. 4.' in An Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Cemetery at Sewerby East Yorkshire, (1985)
Bastow, M., AM 107, (1989)
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)

National Grid Reference: TA 20537 69086, TA 20590 69126


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End of official listing