REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
A hlaew is a burial monument of Anglo-Saxon or Viking date and comprising a hemispherical mound of earth and redeposited bedrock constructed over a primary burial or burials. These were usually inhumations, buried in a grave cut into the subsoil beneath the mound, but cremations placed on the old ground surface beneath the mound have also been found. Hlaews may occur in pairs or in small groups; a few have accompanying flat graves. Constructed during the pagan Saxon and Viking periods for individuals of high rank, they served as visible and ostentatious markers of their social position. Some were associated with territorial claims and appear to have been specifically located to mark boundaries. They often contain objects which give information on the range of technological skill and trading contacts of the period. Only between 50 and 60 hlaews have been positively identified in England. As a rare monument class all positively identified examples are considered worthy of preservation.
Although the centre of Benty Grange hlaew has been partially disturbed by excavation, the monument is otherwise undisturbed and retains significant archaeological remains.
Benty Grange hlaew, or Anglian barrow, is situated in the western upland ridges of the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a central earthen mound, the surrounding ditch and the encircling penannular banks. Overall, the monument is roughly circular and measures 23m by 22m. The mound is a low, bowl-shaped feature with a diameter of c.15m and stands c.0.6m high. The ditch is currently c.0.3m deep by c.1m wide while the outer banks are c.3m wide by c.0.2m high. In 1848, during a partial excavation of the central mound carried out by Thomas Bateman, rich Anglian grave-goods were recovered which date the barrow to c.AD600. These included the remains of a quilted byrnie or chainmail shirt, the framework of an iron helmet with bronze and silver decoration and a boar crest, the silver rim and ornaments of a cup which had been made of a perishable material such as wood, leather or horn, three circular enamels, a knot of fine wire and a quantity of decorated bone bearing the impression of silk fabric, and a six-pronged iron instrument with a looped tang. The latter, along with the byrnie and helmet, was found c.2m west of the other artefacts which, themselves, were clustered round the head of an inhumation, of which only the hair survived. Bateman believed that the barrow had only ever contained one body but the isolation of the iron ware from the other remains suggests that there may have been two: one possibly a cremation which Bateman failed to detect. Future investigation would be able to verify this.
Book Reference - Author: Barnatt, J - Title: The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989) - Date: 1989
Unpublished Title Reference - Author: Barnatt, J W - Title: Peak District Barrow Survey - Date: 1989 - Description: unpublished survey
Book Reference - Author: Bateman, T - Title: Ten Years Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave-Hills - Page References: 28-33 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Marsden, B. M. - Title: The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire - Date: 1986 - Page References: 47 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Meaney, A. - Title: A Gazeteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites - Date: 1964 - Type: DESC TEXT
Article Reference - Author: Ozanne, A - Title: The Peak Dwellers - Date: 1962 - Journal Title: Medieval Archaeology - Volume: 6/7 - Page References: 15-52 - Type: DESC TEXT