Cromwell's Grave, a Neolithic long barrow 300m west of Hoe Hill Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Lindsey (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 21492 95300

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds, generally with flanking ditches. They acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC), representing the burial places of Britain's early farming communities, and as such are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving 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 activities preceding the construction of the barrow mound, including ditched enclosures containing structures related to various rituals of burial. It is probable, therefore, that long barrows acted as important spiritual sites for their local communities over considerable periods of time. The long barrows of the Lincolnshire Wolds and their adjacent regions have been identified as a distinct regional grouping of monuments in which the flanking ditches are continued around the ends of the barrow mound, either continuously or broken by a single causeway towards one end. More than 60 examples of this type of monument are known; a small number of these survive as earthworks, but the great majority of sites are known as cropmarks and soilmarks recorded on aerial photographs where no mound is evident at the surface. Not all Lincolnshire long barrows include mounds. Current limited understanding of the processes of Neolithic mortuary ritual in Lincolnshire is that the large barrow mound represents the final phase of construction which was not reached by all mortuary monuments. Many of the sites where only the ditched enclosure is known have been interpreted as representing monuments which had fully evolved mounds, but in which the mound itself has been degraded or removed by subsequent agricultural activity. In a minority of cases, however, the ditched enclosure will represent a monument which never developed a burial mound. As a distinctive regional grouping of one of the few types of Neolithic monuments known, these sites are of great value. They were all in use over a great period of time and are thus highly representive of changing cultures of the peoples who built and maintained them. All forms of long barrow on the Lincolnshire Wolds and its adjacent regions are therefore considered to be of national importance and all examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection.

Cromwell's Grave long barrow is one of the largest and most complete monuments of its kind known in Lincolnshire. Protected by the surrounding field boundary hedge, the mound is undamaged by ploughing. The limited excavation of 1984 has caused minimal disturbance to the monument yet provides valuable information about the construction of the mound and ditches and the chronology of the site's use. Rare and valuable archaeological evidence will be preserved in and under the mound and in the fills of the ditches. Valuable environmental deposits will also survive providing information illustrating the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set. The surrounding buried ground surface contains further evidence of activities continuing around the barrow long after its construction. The association of Cromwell's Grave with other similar monuments in the vicinity is of particular significance, posing wider questions about the nature of Neolithic settlement in the area.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of an Early Neolithic long barrow known as Cromwell's Grave, located c.85m above sea level, 300m west of Hoe Hill Farm, overlooking the Waithe Beck on the gentle, west facing slope of the Swinhope Valley. The barrow is aligned east-west and is roughly rectangular in shape, measuring 50m long by 17m wide. It stands to a maximum height of approximately 3m, sloping down from the eastern end. The barrow mound supports a number of beech trees and is situated within a copse enclosed by a field boundary hedge. Archaeological investigation in 1984 confirmed the existence of a quarry ditch c.1.5m deep by 6m wide situated between 4m and 8m from the mound. It further demonstrated that one of the earliest activities on the site was the digging of a marker ditch c.0.6m deep by 1.1m wide running inside the quarry ditch, between 1.3m and 2.9m from the edge of the mound. This marker ditch is considered to be the initial delineation of the area set aside for ritual purposes. Geophysical surveys indicated that these ditches continue around the western terminal. The section of the quarry ditch which was excavated contained worked flint, pottery and animal bone from the Neolithic period. A sample of the bone was radiocarbon dated to 3905-3640 BC, confirming the barrow's construction in the Early Neolithic period. Other finds included Beaker pottery, a tanged and barbed arrowhead and a glass bead. The upper fills of the ditch and the surrounding buried ground surface contained pottery and animal bone from later periods including the Roman, Saxon and medieval. The monument is situated about 100m east of a similar, smaller long barrow which is the subject of a separate scheduling. Ash Hill long barrow lies approximately 1km to the south west of the monument. Cromwell's Grave long barrow takes its name from the local tradition that it is the burial place of a Roundhead soldier captured and killed on the mound.

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.

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Books and journals
Manby, T G, 'Scottish Archaeological Forum' in Long Barrows in Northern England, , Vol. 2, (1970)
Phillips, P, 'BAR' in Archaeology and Landscape Studies in North Lincolnshire, (1989), 10
Phillips, P, 'BAR' in Archaeology and Landscape Studies in North Lincolnshire, (1989)
Phillips, C W, 'Archaeologia' in The Excavation of the Giants' Hills Long Barrow, Skendleby, Linc, , Vol. 85, (1935), 37-106
discussion with local landowner, Theobald, B, (1995)


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

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