Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains at Monkton, 550m north of Walters Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018880

Date first listed: 18-Jan-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Anglo-Saxon cemetery and associated remains at Monkton, 550m north of Walters Hall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Kent

District: Thanet (District Authority)

Parish: Monkton

National Grid Reference: TR 29089 65535


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.

The Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery at Monkton survives well, despite some subsequent disturbance, in close association with traces of later medieval occupation. Part excavation has shown that it contains important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the original use of the monument. Unusually, the cemetery retains evidence of original wooden structures within the graves. The Monkton cemetery belongs to a group of similar, broadly contemporary Anglo-Saxon cemeteries which cluster in eastern Kent, distinguished by their rich grave goods with continental, Jutish associations. This clustering illustrates the dense Early Anglo-Saxon settlement of this area. The close association between the cemetery and the traces of Norman occupation will provide evidence for the as yet little understood relationship between early and later medieval settlement and burial practices.


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


The monument includes an Anglo-Saxon inhumation cemetery and traces of a later medieval settlement situated on the southern slope of a low chalk ridge around 0.5km north of the village of Monkton, on the Isle of Thanet. Until around the 14th century Monkton lay on the north eastern shore of the Wantsum Channel, a now silted-up estuarine waterway which separated Thanet from the Kent mainland.

The Anglo-Saxon cemetery survives in the form of below ground remains. It lies immediately south of the modern A253 road, which follows the course of Dunstrete, an important east-west aligned ancient routeway across Thanet. Investigations carried out during gas pipeline laying just to the south of, and parallel to, the modern road in 1971 and 1982 revealed 34 mainly east-west aligned graves extending across the monument. The burials were accompanied by a rich assemblage of grave goods, or artefacts deliberately buried with the bodies. The grave goods included weapons, jewellery, glassware and other personal items, and the analysis of these has indicated that the cemetery was in use mainly during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Evidence revealed by the investigations suggested that some of the later, seventh century graves were originally covered with grave mounds, subsequently levelled by ploughing. Crop marks visible on aerial photographs indicate three circular, ditched graves and an associated irregular enclosure near the northern edge of the monument. One grave was found to retain evidence for a wooden structure, thought to have supported a bier or coffin. Further graves and associated below ground archaeological remains can be expected to survive in the areas between and around the known burials and crop marks.

An oval pit and a number of associated ditches discovered during the pipeline operations in the north western corner of the monument have been interpreted as traces of a later medieval settlement. Analysis of pottery sherds found in the pit suggests that the settlement dates to the years around AD 1080-1150. The monument has been partly disturbed by the pipeline laying and modern ploughing.

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: 31409

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Scott, C, The Thanet Gas Pipeline
Chadwick Hawkes, S, Hogarth, A, 'Archaeologia Cantiana' in The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Monkton, Thanet 1972, , Vol. 89, (1974), 49-89

End of official listing