Blakey Howe round barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018983

Date first listed: 27-Feb-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Blakey Howe round barrow
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Farndale East

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Rosedale West Side


National Grid Reference: SE 67863 99785


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.

Excavations of round barrows in the region have shown that they demonstrate a wide range of burial rites, from simple scatters of cremated material to coffin inhumations and cremations contained in urns, typically dating to the Bronze Age. A common factor is that barrows were normally used for more than one burial and that the primary burial was frequently on or below the original ground surface, often with secondary burials located within the body of the mound. In the Bronze Age, many round barrows are thought to have acted as territorial markers in addition to their role as burial sites. Blakey Howe, placed on the spine of Blakey Ridge, is considered to be one such example. This function has continued, as shown by the inscribed boundary stone, and the barrow now marks a parish boundary. Blakey Howe is a relatively well preserved round barrow, despite the disturbance by antiquarian excavation, and will retain important archaeological information. The boundary stone, a good 18th century example possibly reusing a prehistoric standing stone, adds additional interest.


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


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric burial mound, also known as Cockpit Hill, which is topped by an 18th century boundary stone. It is located 80m NNW of the Lion Inn, marked on the 1:10,000 map as Blakey House, just to the west of the Castleton to Hutton-le-Hole road. It survives in an area extensively worked for coal in the post-medieval period, an activity which has left behind numerous spoil heaps along the ridge. Referred to as Blakenhow in a Charter of Guisborough Priory in 1200, the round barrow is prominently sited on a natural rise on the spine of Blakey Ridge and is intervisible with a number of other prominently located barrows in the area. Constructed of earth with some stone, it is just over 20m in diameter and stands 2m high with an old antiquarian excavation hollow 6m in diameter and up to 1.5m deep in its top. This hollow is thought to have been used for staging cockfights, explaining the barrow's alternative name. On the rim of this hollow, on the southern side, there is a 0.25m square and 1.4m high boundary stone which tapers towards its top. On its west face it is inscribed with the initials TD above four more weathered characters. This is taken to refer to Thomas Duncombe who owned the Duncombe Estate in the early 18th century. It is possible that this stone, which is Listed Grade II, may be a redressed and reset prehistoric standing stone. Although there is no ditch visible around the barrow, a 3m margin around the mound has been included to allow for its likely survival. This is because excavations of other examples in the region have shown that, even where no encircling depression is discernible on the modern ground surface, ditches immediately around the outside of the mound frequently survive as infilled features, containing additional archaeological deposits. The barrow is respected by a drystone wall which skirts it to the west and a small roadstone quarry to the east, neither of which are included in the scheduling.

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: 32642

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing