Widow Howe: two round barrows on Widow Howe Rigg


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021298

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1966

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Apr-2004


Ordnance survey map of Widow Howe: two round barrows on Widow Howe Rigg
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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: Goathland


National Grid Reference: SE 85963 99984


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, Widow Howe and the second adjacent round barrow have survived well. Significant information about the original form of the barrows and the burials placed within them will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment will also survive beneath the mounds, and within the buried ditch.

The barrows lie in an area where there are many other prehistoric burial monuments. The association with similar monuments provides insight into the distribution of ritual and funerary activity across the landscape during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes two adjacent round barrows which are situated on Middle Jurassic sandstone on the North York Moors. It occupies an area of level ground in a prominent ridge-top position.

Widow Howe is the larger of the two barrows. It has a sub-circular earthen mound which measures 17m in diameter and stands up to 1.7m high. Partial excavation in the past has left a hollow in the centre of the mound. Surrounding the mound, there is a ditch which is visible as a shallow depression around the south western half of the mound. Originally this would have been up to 3m wide and much deeper than it is today, but it has silted up over the years. The second barrow lies 22m to the north of Widow Howe. It has an uneven earthen mound which measures 6m in diameter and stands up to 0.9m high. The route of an old footpath passes to the immediate north of the northern barrow in an east to west direction, and is visible as a shallow hollow way.

The two barrows lie in an area where there are many other prehistoric monuments, particularly burials which are often located in prominent and highly visible locations in the landscape.

The bird rearing pen which is located on the east side of Widow Howe is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 35907

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing