Beacon Hill round barrow, on the south west side of the cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019865

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Beacon Hill round barrow, on the south west side of the cemetery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North East Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)

National Grid Reference: TA 29944 08096


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for 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 bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of 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.

Beacons were fires deliberately lit to give early warning of the approach of hostile forces. They were always sited on prominent positions, usually as part of a group or chain which together made up a comprehensive early warning system covering most of the country. Beacons were extensively used during the medieval period. Their use was formalised by 1325 and although some were used later, for example at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the Napoleonic Wars, the system was in decay by the mid 17th century. Beacons were initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later, barrels of pitch or iron fire baskets mounted on poles were used, often set on top of earthen mounds. Beacons were established throughout England with approximately 500 recorded nationally. Few survive in the form of physical remains, with most known only form place-name evidence. Despite its partial excavation, Beacon Hill round barrow on the south west side of the cemetery is very well-preserved. The excavated burials were all high up in the body of the mound and are now considered to have been secondary burials inserted after the barrow's original construction. It is estimated that over half of the original volume of the mound remains undisturbed. This will typically retain further secondary burials in addition to the barrow's primary burial which, given the finds of Neolithic flints, may be particularly early. The find of an Anglo-Saxon funerary vessel also adds to the importance of the site as does its later reuse as a beacon.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a prehistoric burial mound located on the south western side of Cleethorpes cemetery, adjacent to the World War II cemetery for merchant seamen. In the medieval period, the round barrow was reused as the site of a beacon. The round barrow was partly excavated in 1935 by L W Pye and T Sheppard who uncovered a large number of finds that are now held by the Council's Museum Service. The mound was described as being 45ft by 25ft by 10ft high (13.7m by 7.6m by 3m). A large undecorated urn containing cremated remains, charcoal and four smaller urns was found in the centre of the mound, 6ft (1.8m) below the mound's summit. Each of the four smaller vessels were decorated with various patterns and contained the cremated remains of a child. Adjacent to the large urn containing these burials, there was another decorated urn which also contained the cremated remains of a child. All of these burials date to the Bronze Age, although uncovered closer to the edge of the mound there was a small plain bowl of Anglo-Saxon date. This is thought to have been a grave good accompanying a pagan Anglo-Saxon burial later disturbed by the mound's use as the site of a beacon, which is documented from 1377. In the immediately surrounding area, a number of Neolithic flints, including flakes, scrapers and cores, were also recovered which implies that the barrow could be Neolithic in origin. The barrow is sited on a low ridge of glacial moraine. It still survives as a prominent mound which is oval in plan. However, following the excavation, it stands 1.8m high and is spread to 18m by 10m. It is orientated north west to south east. Although there are no obvious indications of an encircling ditch, excavation of other examples of round barrows 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. Beacon Hill is also thought to have been the focus for later Anglo-Saxon burials and so the monument includes an additional minimum margin of 4m to allow for such buried remains. The path surface, garden seats, rubbish bin and their bases are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. The fence line defining the western side of the monument lies immediately outside the area of protection.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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: 34700

Legacy System: RSM


Record cards, Sites & Monuments Record, 1197, (2000)

End of official listing