Cairnfield and round barrow cemetery 150m north of Carr House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017831

Date first listed: 27-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield and round barrow cemetery 150m north of Carr House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Danby

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Westerdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 67444 07491


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

Reasons for Designation

Cairnfields are concentrations of cairns sited in close proximity to one another. They often consist largely of clearance cairns, built with stone cleared from the surrounding landsurface to improve its use for agriculture, and on occasion their distribution pattern can be seen to define field plots. However, funerary cairns are also frequently incorporated, although without excavation it may be impossible to determine which cairns contain burials. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). The considerable longevity and variation in the size, content and associations of cairnfields provide important information on the development of land use and agricultural practices. Cairnfields also retain information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation during the prehistoric period.

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise of closely spaced groups of up to 30 barrows - rubble and earth mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit a considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow. Where large scale investigations have taken place, contemporary or later `flat' burials between the barrows have often been found. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Carr House cairnfield is part of the prehistoric field system which is believed to have originally covered much of Castleton Rigg. Both the cairns and barrows will overlie and preserve prehistoric soil horizons which will provide information about the local environment. The monument's importance is heightened by the survival of another group of cairns uphill and 650m to the east. This group, Gallow Howe cairnfield, is the subject of a separate scheduling.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a prehistoric cairnfield and round barrow cemetery located on a south westerly facing hill spur projecting from the northern end of Castleton Rigg. It does not include the more dispersed remains of early field systems that lie to the west, north and east. Another concentration of cairns, Gallow Howe cairnfield, which lies 650m to the east, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. The monument includes seven stone and earth mounds over 4m in diameter interspersed with a number of smaller mounds. On the eastern side of the monument there are two pairs of mounds that are interpreted as round barrows, a type of prehistoric burial mound. These four mounds form an approximate north to south line. The southernmost barrow is the largest at 8m in diameter, standing 0.5m high. The second, approximately 10m to the north, is 7m in diameter and of the same height. The third, about 40m further north, is 4m-5m in diameter and 0.4m high, but is well rounded and very regular in shape with a hint of an encircling ditch. The last barrow, which is just downslope, 10m to the north, is larger, over 5m in diameter and also approximately 0.4m high. In the south western part of the monument there is a triangle of mounds, of which the northern two were marked on early Ordnance Survey maps as tumuli or burial mounds. These are much more irregular in shape compared with the four mounds already described and are now interpreted as clearance cairns, prehistoric mounds formed from stones cleared from arable fields. The westernmost one of the group is roughly circular, 7m in diameter and 0.4m high, with a distinct central hollow. The second cairn lies 45m ESE and is very irregular in form, 7m across its longest axis and standing up to 0.4m high. The third cairn is lower, 0.3m high and only 4.5m across. It lies approximately 30m SSW of the first cairn. There are a number of additional smaller cairns spread across the area, some of which can be seen on an oblique aerial photograph of the monument. These are typically only 0.2m-0.3m high, 2m-3m in diameter and are difficult to locate under the vegetation.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 30140

Legacy System: RSM


Oblique held by National Park SMR, ANY 66/33,
Walkover survey record in NP SMR, White, R, (1989)
Walkover survey record in NP SMR, White, R, (1989)

End of official listing