Benty Grange hlaew
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1013767
Date first listed: 23-Oct-1970
Date of most recent amendment: 08-Jan-1993
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
National Park: PEAK DISTRICT
National Grid Reference: SK 14606 64220
Reasons for Designation
A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a
hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a
primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave
cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old
ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur
in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed
during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they
served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some
were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically
located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information
on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only
between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a
rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy
Although the centre of Benty Grange hlaew has been partially disturbed by excavation, the monument is otherwise undisturbed and retains significant archaeological remains.
Benty Grange hlaew, or Anglian barrow, is situated in the western upland
ridges of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a
central earthen mound, the surrounding ditch and the encircling penannular
banks. Overall, the monument is roughly circular and measures 23m by 22m.
The mound is a low, bowl-shaped feature with a diameter of c.15m and stands
c.0.6m high. The ditch is currently c.0.3m deep by c.1m wide while the outer
banks are c.3m wide by c.0.2m high. In 1848, during a partial excavation of
the central mound carried out by Thomas Bateman, rich Anglian grave-goods were
recovered which date the barrow to c.AD600. These included the remains of a
quilted byrnie or chainmail shirt, the framework of an iron helmet with bronze
and silver decoration and a boar crest, the silver rim and ornaments of a cup
which had been made of a perishable material such as wood, leather or horn,
three circular enamels, a knot of fine wire and a quantity of decorated bone
bearing the impression of silk fabric, and a six-pronged iron instrument with
a looped tang. The latter, along with the byrnie and helmet, was found c.2m
west of the other artefacts which, themselves, were clustered round the head
of an inhumation, of which only the hair survived. Bateman believed that the
barrow had only ever contained one body but the isolation of the iron ware
from the other remains suggests that there may have been two: one possibly a
cremation which Bateman failed to detect. Future investigation would be able
to verify this.
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: 13371
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills, (1861), 28-33
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire, (1986), 47
Meaney, A L S, Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites, (1964)
Ozanne, A, 'Medieval Archaeology' in The Peak Dwellers, , Vol. 6/7, (1962), 15-52
Barnatt, J W, Peak District Barrow Survey, 1989, unpublished survey
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.
End of official listing