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Monument record MDR1432 - Benty Grange, Anglian Round Barrow, Monyash

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 1460 6421. A low mound, about two feet high and surrounded by a small ditch, on Benty Grange farm, to the right of the road from Ashbourne to Buxton, near the eighth milestone from Buxton, was opened by Bateman on 3rd May 1848. The body was either decomposed or never there, but at the centre of the mound there was human hair. Near the hair/head, and six feet to the west of it, was a collection of objects. These comprised an iron helmet with silver decoration; a decorated wooden cup; four wheel-shaped ornaments and two silver crosses; three enamelled ornaments, escutcheons from a bronze hanging bowl; one silvered bronze with yellow enamel; knot of fine wire; decorated bone; oxidised metal work possibly representing a byrnie and a six pronged iron instrument with a looped tang. (1,2). Benty Grange, Anglian Round Barrow (4). In 1848 Bateman excavated a barrow at Benty Grange near Monyash, only c.2ft tall, but spread over a wide area. About the centre was the primary and only burial, of which only hair of the head was found (? Part of a woollen cloak like at Sutton Hoo). Associated were parts of silver ornaments and binding from a leather cup, two small crosses of silver, two bronze discs, a fine wire knot, carved bone, an iron helmet with chained links, a six pronged instrument and traces of cloth. No skeletal remains were recorded. The barrow has been dated to after the mid VII century. (6). A much reduced, ditched round barrow in pasture. Published survey (25"), revised. (7). Much of this material is in Sheffield City Museum. The central mound is heavily robbed in its eastern half, probably prior to 1848. Immediately beyond the mound is a 0.2m deep ditch with an outer bank. The latter has a steep inner side and a gentle outer one which has been reduced by ploughing and virtually removed in parts. The hair of the inhumation has survived at the centre of the barrow. The cup, escutcheons, wire knot and bone objects were by the head, while the helmet and ironwork was 1.8m (6ft) to the west by the presumed position of the feet. (11) Scheduled monument, including the central earthen mound, the surrounding ditch and the encircling penannular banks. Overall the monument is roughly circular and measures 23m by 22m. It was partially excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1848, when rich Anglian grave-goods were recovered which date the barrow to c. AD600. Bateman believed that the barrow had only ever contained one body but the isolation of the ironware from the other remains suggests that there may have been two, one possibly a cremation which Bateman failed to detect. (12) The helmet was removed from Sheffield City Museum in 1948 and taken to the British Museum for cleaning and laboratory examination. This confirmed Bateman's original comments about the helmet. An iron framework enclosed the head. Shaped horn plates had once been fixed between the gaps in the iron framework, while horn had also provided a protective covering for the neck. There were two main decorative features, a silver cross positioned on the nasal guard and the famous free standing boar crest. (13). Photographic record. (14). If the skeleton has decomposed there would be no evidence of hair, wooden cup, carved bone or ?cloth, unless these artefacts were positioned on or extremely close to metal, preserving them from bacterial processes. The helmet was apparently located near the feet and thus too far away from the hair to have preserved it. It seems unlikely that the escutcheons and wire knot would have been sufficient to preserve all the organic artefacts so well, particularly in an environment which was apparently so active with bacteria that the skeleton completely decomposed. I would suggest no skeleton was every positioned within this barrow. Although, the barrow may have been prepared for a burial to be placed within it at a later date. (15).

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1855. Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities at Lomberdale House. H53-7.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bateman, T. 1861. Ten Years' Diggings in Celtic and Saxon Grave Hills. pp 28-33.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Bateman, T. Description of, and Observations on, Further Discoveries in the Barrows of Derbyshire (Manuscript). pp 11-13.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1955. 6".
  • <5> Article in serial: Ozanne, A. 1962-3. 'The Peak Dwellers', Medieval Archaeology. Volume 6-7. pp 15-52.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Meaney, A. 1964. A Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites.
  • <7> Personal Observation: 1966. F1 FRH.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Bruce-Mitford, R. 1974. Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. pp 223-242.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Wilson, D M (ed). 1976. The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England. p20, 274, 390.
  • <10> Index: North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust (NDAT). North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust Index. 1080.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Barnatt, J. 1989. The Peak District Barrow Survey (updated 1994). Site 7:21.
  • <12> Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1993. Scheduling Notification : Benty Grange hlaew. 13371.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Jones, H (University of Nottingham). 1997. The Region of Derbyshire and North Staffordshire, from AD 350 to AD 700: an analysis of Romano-British and Anglian barrow use in the White Peak. PhD Thesis. pp 145-146.
  • <14> Photograph: Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA). Slide Collection. 6839.1.
  • <15> Personal Observation: Thornton, A. Personal observation, map evidence, field visit etc..



Grid reference Centred SK 1460 6422 (18m by 17m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR588
  • EDR1176
  • EDR328

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Record last edited

Feb 26 2008 3:02PM

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