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List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Bronze Age bowl barrow, Anglo-Saxon settlement and medieval manorial settlement

List Entry Number: 1435726


The site is centred on SE 90488 20927. It is situated on gently-sloping low-lying ground at the south-west of the village green at West Halton; south of the village hall, east of Coleby Road and north of Church Side. West Halton is located 4.6km south-east of the confluence of the rivers Trent and Ouse with the Humber estuary.

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Lincolnshire
District Type: Unitary Authority
Parish: West Halton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 15-Jul-2016

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Asset Groupings

This List entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List Entry Description

Summary of Monument

A multi-period site that includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, an Anglo-Saxon settlement, and a medieval manorial settlement.

Reasons for Designation

The Bronze Age bowl barrow, Anglo-Saxon settlement and medieval manorial settlement at West Halton are scheduled for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: Anglo-Saxon rural settlements are rare nationally and relatively few sites with known archaeological potential have been identified; * Survival: the bowl barrow mound survives to c3m high whilst the settlement remains have been relatively undisturbed since the late medieval abandonment of the site and are therefore particularly well preserved with buried archaeological deposits surviving to over 1.5m deep; * Architectural interest: the medieval manorial buildings retain their original plan forms and architectural features such as walls, floors, staircases, garderobes with slots for wooden seats, arched drains and a window lintel; * Archaeological potential: a large proportion of the site has not been excavated and disturbed and therefore retains considerable potential for further structural features, artefacts and ecofactual deposits; * Diversity: the Anglo-Saxon settlement contains a high diversity of features including two ditched enclosures, stake holes, ditches, pits, gullies and post holes associated with a range of building types, including halls and a grubenhäus (sunken-featured building); * Period: the Anglo-Saxon settlement survives from a period about which comparatively little is known and will provide valuable information about the evolution and continuity of settlement forms; * Representativity: the multi-period remains are representative of their respective periods and show activity and occupation of the site over a considerable period of time; * Documentation: the site is well documented in archaeological terms having undergone geophysical survey, field walking and partial excavation; * Group value: the Bronze Age bowl barrow, Anglo-Saxon settlement and medieval manorial settlement hold group value.


The multi-period site at West Halton includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, an Anglo-Saxon settlement and medieval manorial settlement. The bowl barrow survives as a mound with an in-filled and buried surrounding ditch. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are prehistoric funerary monuments. The main period of construction occurred in the Early Bronze Age between about 2200-1500 BC (a period when cremation succeeded inhumation as the primary burial rite), although Neolithic examples are known from as early as 3000 BC. Bowl barrows were constructed as a rounded earthen mound or stone cairn, the earthen examples usually having a surrounding ditch and occasionally an outer bank. They range greatly in size from about 5m in diameter to as much as 40m, with the mounds ranging from slight rises to as much as 4m in height. Bowl barrows occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Many went through a series of phases before reaching their final form, while others were the focus for secondary burials (in the mound, in any surrounding ditch, or in the immediate vicinity as ‘satellite burials’) after their principal period of use.

In the Anglo-Saxon period a settlement was established on the site adjacent to the barrow. Germanic settlers (or ‘Anglo-Saxons’) arrived in England in around the early 5th century and after, establishing new settlements, re-occupying existing settlements, and introducing several new building types. Most buildings, including churches, dwellings and outbuildings, were simple timber structures, traces of which survive in the form of fragile below-ground features such as post holes, sill-beam slots and pits. Notable among new building types were grubenhäuser; sunken-featured buildings, many apparently workshops or store-sheds. Houses and barns were of ‘earth-fast’ construction with lines of wall-posts set in individual post-holes. In the early Anglo-Saxon period (5th to 7th century AD) such buildings were found in settlements which were typically small and lacked spatial organisation or ‘edges’. From the 7th century better spatial definition is seen with ditched enclosures, repeatedly re-cut, around properties and associated closes and droveways. From about AD 600 some exceptionally large, one-room, buildings appear, presumably halls reflecting a more hierarchical society and the emergence of strong local lords (from the later 9th century termed 'thegns'). At the same time, new building techniques including the use of sill-beams (horizontal ground-beams which lifted timber uprights out of the earth) meant that buildings – with secular ones still exclusively of wood – were longer-lived. In the later Anglo-Saxon period, from the 9th century, some places were laid out, or re-planned, with the thegn’s hall, and perhaps a church typically set alongside one another at the end of the settlement, and farms all set within carefully-measured, regular, and well-defined properties. Building types were varied, with post-in-trench and plank-in-trench foundations enabling larger, and especially wider, buildings. Substantial ditches often define what seem to be higher-status settlements including those described in documentary sources as Anglo-Saxon royal centres.

The settlement at West Halton developed from the early Anglo-Saxon period (c410-660) and was occupied into the late Anglo-Saxon period (c899-1066). It has been shown by excavation to have included two enclosures and several buildings, such as two halls and a grubenhäus. Historically, West Halton has been linked with a written tradition that St Æthelthryth (also known as St Etheldreda), the daughter of King Anna of the East Angles, stopped in the area during her flight from Northumberland to Ely in 672 and subsequently founded a religious community. The parish church immediately S of the village green is dedicated to St Etheldreda which is a comparatively rare dedication in Lincolnshire.

By the C11 West Halton was the centre of the largest estate (or ‘soke’) in the area. In 1066 the manor was held by Earl Harold but after the Norman Conquest it passed to Earl Hugh of Chester, one of William the Conquerors’ leading earls. It is recorded as ‘Haltone’ in the 1086 Domesday survey, which has been translated as ‘farmhouse (or ‘tun’) in a nook of land’. During the medieval period several stone buildings were constructed on the current site of the village green, forming a manorial complex. Medieval manorial settlements, comprising small groups of houses with associated gardens, yards and paddocks, supported communities devoted primarily to agriculture, and acted as the foci for manorial administration. Although the sites of many of these settlements have been occupied continuously down to the present day, others declined in size or were abandoned during the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the C14 and C15. The reasons for desertion often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land-use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. The archaeological excavations at West Halton indicate that the manorial buildings were abandoned in about the C15 and then largely demolished. The area subsequently became a paddock and the settlement focus shifted elsewhere within the village.

INVESTIGATION HISTORY The bowl barrow on West Halton village green was formerly known as ‘Bunker’s Hill’, and was first mentioned by the local diarist Abraham de la Pryme in 1697: ‘'…on the north side of the church is a huge hill called ….hill, where has been formerly a great….'’ (the entry is incomplete). In October 1837 a trench was dug into the mound. It was apparently positioned through to the centre of the barrow but not beneath the original ground level and did not recover any burials. The excavation was reported in a document authored by the rector and the churchwarden, which declared that: '‘… it was evident to those who superintended the operation that the said mound is merely an artificial hill raised from the surrounding soil, and not a barrow or tumulus, as immemorial tradition had represented it to be.'’

The area surrounding the bowl barrow later became a paddock. In 1982 an area of this paddock was bulldozed and levelled for a football pitch, which revealed building material including ceramic tiles. Fieldwalking was subsequently undertaken by Kevin Leahy of Scunthorpe Museum, which recovered pottery of prehistoric, Anglo-Saxon and medieval date. In February 1983 an excavation was carried out on the site by Jane Grenville and Mike Parker Pearson as part of a research project. It uncovered an Anglo-Saxon ditch, as well as four medieval buildings. In 2003-2009 a series of student training excavations and geophysical surveys were subsequently carried out by the University of Sheffield each summer. These provided evidence to indicate that the mound on the village green was a Bronze Age bowl barrow with a surrounding ditch, and also uncovered the remains of a levelled barrow to the S. The latter contained a primary crouched inhumation burial of a child cut into the bedrock and a secondary cremation burial of a mature woman within a pit reddened from burning. Anglo-Saxon settlement remains were uncovered to the N and SE of the bowl barrow. The associated finds included early to late Anglo-Saxon pottery (including decorated pottery), an iron knife, iron stylus, penannular brooch, a sawn horn core, worked bone including part of a bone comb and a bone pin, copper alloy pins, iron-working slag, and shell. Further remains of the medieval manorial complex first uncovered in 1983 were identified partly overlying the Anglo-Saxon remains. The finds associated with this period of occupation included a French jetton, a key, a book clasp, an iron arrowhead, part of a horseshoe, a knife blade, a buckle pin, pottery, painted window glass, lead cames, roof tile, brick, shell and animal bone.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS A multi-period site that includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, an Anglo-Saxon settlement, and a medieval manorial settlement.

BRONZE AGE BOWL BARROW The Bronze Age bowl barrow survives as an earthwork mound and buried remains about 45m SSW of West Halton Village Hall. The mound is c20m in diameter and c3m high. A quarry ditch from which material was derived to construct the mound surrounds it. The ditch has a U-shaped profile with a flat base and is c2m wide and c1m deep. A medieval trackway, c2m wide and c0.3m deep, survives as buried remains crossing the barrow, probably joining with a further trackway recorded to the north. Partial excavation of a trench across part of the barrow in 2007 recovered prehistoric worked flint and animal bone from the mound. It also recovered human remains radio-carbon dated to the 7th century, which are likely to have come from a secondary Anglo-Saxon burial within the barrow. The lower fill of the ditch contained deposits of prehistoric pottery, flints and a fragment of a prehistoric shale pendant, whilst the upper fill contained Anglo-Saxon and medieval pottery, iron nails, ceramic building material and animal bone. This indicated that the ditch had undergone some gradual silting before it was eventually filled during the medieval period.

ANGLO-SAXON SETTLEMENT An early Anglo-Saxon (c410-660) ditched enclosure, forming a c30m by c30m square, survives as buried remains immediately to the N of the bowl barrow. It has been recorded through geophysical survey and the partial excavation of the SE quadrant of the enclosure in 2009. The enclosure is delimited by a ditch c1.8m wide at the top and c1m deep, narrowing to about 0.3m at the bottom where there is a flat base. At the SE corner of the enclosure the E ditch extends c3.6m beyond the S ditch to form an external tapering terminal. Partial excavation recorded a small amount of late Roman and early Anglo-Saxon pottery in the enclosure ditch fill as well as re-deposited bedrock, which possibly served as a packing for upright posts that may have been placed within the ditch. The area within the SE quadrant of the enclosure contained Anglo-Saxon settlement remains including at least two hall-type buildings, a grubenhäus (sunken-featured building), a shallow ditch, two gullies, several pits and over 300 post or stake holes generally ranging in depth and diameter from 0.1m to 0.3m. The grubenhäus comprised a pit c3.6m by c4.5m, a gravel ‘platform’ and postholes. Further buried remains of the Anglo-Saxon enclosure and associated settlement will extend to the N, E and W.

A middle Anglo-Saxon (c660–899) ditched enclosure and further settlement remains survive beneath the village green to the S and E of the bowl barrow. Partial excavation has identified numerous postholes forming at least two more buildings, including a post- or plank-in-trench building that may have been a hall, as well as pits, ditches, gullies, and stake-holes associated with fencelines. It also revealed two rock-cut ditches, which are considered to have formed part of a curvilinear enclosure, possibly D-shaped in plan. The enclosure is approximately 50m wide E to W and in excess of 50m wide N to S. A c50m length of the ditch was recorded at the NE of the enclosure. It is c0.8m deep and c2.5m wide. The fill of the ditch contained bedrock, which may have been from an internal rubble bank subsequently pushed into the ditch, as well as Anglo-Saxon pottery, fragments of bone comb, slag, iron and animal bone. The SW side of the enclosure was recorded for a length of nearly 10m. It is c1m wide and c0.7m deep with a V-shaped profile. The excavations indicated that this area of the site was occupied in the early Anglo-Saxon period before the construction of the ditch in the middle Anglo-Saxon period. The enclosure may have subsequently been recut in the mid-9th to 10th centuries.

MEDIEVAL MANORIAL SETTLEMENT A medieval manorial complex formed of several stone buildings is situated between the bowl barrow mound and children’s playground to the SE, partly overlying the Anglo-Saxon settlement. A medieval house overlies the SE edge of the barrow mound (within ‘Trench 5’ of the 2005-2007 excavations). It is constructed of dry stone and clay-bonded walls c0.7m-1m with two main ranges, orientated N-S and linked by a stone staircase. The western range is approximately 7.5m long by 3.5m wide and may have served as a roofed or open corridor with a rough metalled stone floor. Attached to the SE corner of the range is the staircase, which is approximately 3.5m square. It provides access to the eastern range, which has a cellar and ground floor. This range is approximately 7m wide and over 11m long with a central dividing wall c1m thick separating a series of rooms. There are two closed-shaft garderobes at the N, servicing the ground floor, with three arched drains or soakways exiting through the N wall. At the W of this range is a cellar lit by two lancet windows either side of the staircase; part of an ashlar jamb of one of these lancets survives in situ but the other has been robbed leaving only an opening. The cellar is serviced by two garderobes set into its E and W walls, which have slots cut into the stone for wooden seats, and c1m deep drops which lead to arched drains or soakways. Another room is situated to the E, opposite the cellar, and there are further rooms to the S, which have not been excavated. An external revetment wall is built against the W wall of the building and attached to the SW are the walls of another, later, range. Archaeological evidence indicates that the upper part of the building was demolished and levelled during the C15.

A medieval building is situated at the S of the site (within ‘Trench 1’ of the 2003 and 2007-8 excavations). It is orientated N-S and constructed of drystone walls surviving to nearly 1m high. Archaeological evidence indicates that the building was constructed after the early C13 and largely demolished by the early C16. Attached to the W side of the building is a small extension, 2.2m long by 1.6m wide, with a rubble floor. An iron sickle and pig skeleton found within this room indicated that it may have had an agricultural function. About 10m to the N are the drystone walls of a small building partially excavated in 2003 (within ‘Trench 2’), which may have been an outbuilding or shed.

At the SE of the site, near the children’s playground on the village green, are the buried remains of a medieval lime kiln. It is sub-circular in plan, 1.5m deep and 4.3m in diameter at the top and 2.7m wide at the base. The lime kiln may have been used in the construction or maintenance of the buildings associated with the manorial complex. Partial excavation in this area in 2007-8 uncovered several dry-stone walls forming a medieval building or buildings near to the lime kiln (within ‘Trench 6’). A further building was uncovered a few metres to the N in 2007 (within ‘Trench 9’) and is constructed of dry-stone walls up to about 1m thick. A cobbled doorway 1.4m wide is set into a wall of the main range, whilst to the N is a later extension. The walls and floor surfaces showed signs of burning, indicating that it was damaged by fire. A short distance to the W there are the remains of a staircase excavated in 2007 (within ‘Trench 10’), which is likely to represent another building that formed part of the manorial complex.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING The scheduling forms a broadly rectangular area, which includes the Bronze Age bowl barrow, Anglo-Saxon settlement and medieval manorial settlement recorded from geophysical survey and partial excavation. It extends across part of a football pitch on the village green at the NE, since this area is considered to hold archaeological potential for further buried remains relating to the Anglo-Saxon settlement. The ground beneath the children’s playground at the SE is excluded because the construction of the playground is likely to have destroyed the archaeological remains in this area.

EXCLUSIONS The monument excludes all modern concrete paths, telegraph poles, benches, goal posts, litter bins, signs and sign posts, fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts. However, the ground beneath these features is included.

Selected Sources

Crewe, V, Hadley, D, and Wilmott, H, Fieldwork at West Halton, North Lincolnshire: University of Sheffield Interim Report for 2007-2009 (2011) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Grenville, J and Parker Pearson, M, Excavations at West Halton, Lincolnshire: An Interim Report (1983) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Hadley, D, ‘Stranger in a Strange land? The Anglo-Saxon settlement at West Halton in its Bronze-Age setting’, a paper delivered at the Royal Archaeological Institute on 11th April 2012
Hadley, D, Willmott, H, and Chamberlain, A, Fieldwork in West Halton, Lincolnshire 2003: University of Sheffield Interim Report (2003) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Hadley, D, Willmott, H, and Chamberlain, A, Fieldwork in West Halton, Lincolnshire 2004: University of Sheffield Interim Report (2004) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Hadley, D, Willmott, H, and Chamberlain, A, Fieldwork in West Halton, Lincolnshire 2005: University of Sheffield Interim Report (2005) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Hadley, D, Willmott, H, and Chamberlain, A, Fieldwork in West Halton, Lincolnshire 2006: University of Sheffield Interim Report (2006) (Report held in North Lincolnshire HER)
Perry, G, An Analysis of the Pottery from Ditch Systems at the Multi-Period Site of West Halton, North Lincolnshire, University of Sheffield Material Culture Studies MA Dissertation


National Grid Reference: SE9048620921

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This copy shows the entry on 03-Aug-2021 at 01:00:45.