Round barrow and gallows site known as Butter Howe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016963

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow and gallows site known as Butter Howe
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 18:14:27.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Barnby


National Grid Reference: NZ 82735 15125


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited disturbance, the barrow known as Butter Howe has survived well. Significant information about the original form of the barrow and the burials placed within it will be preserved, particularly beneath the area of the sandstone platform. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the barrow mound. The barrow is situated close to a group of other burial monuments which also includes standing stones, and clusters such as these provide important insight into the development of ritual and funerary practice during the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a round barrow situated in a prominent position at the top of a north facing slope overlooking the cliffs at Kettleness. The barrow has an earth and stone mound which stands up to 1.1m high. It is oval in shape and measures 18m east to west by 13m north to south. The top of the mound is flat and there is a hollow to the west of the centre which was caused by part excavation in 1918 by W Hornsby and J D Laverick. This excavation uncovered a cremation and an inhumation as well as a platform of sandstone slabs close to the surface, which the excavators interpreted as the site of a later gallows. On the north side of the mound there is an old footpath running alongside the field boundary which has become hollowed with use. The barrow lies in an area rich in prehistoric monuments, including further barrows and standing stones. The field boundary fence which runs to the north of the barrow is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the fence posts 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.


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

Legacy System number: 32493

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Smith, M J B, Excavated Bronze Age Burial Mounds of Durham and N' land., (1994), 91
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. 87, (1993)

End of official listing