Rudston Beacon
Round Barrow Cemetery
South of Rudston, East Riding of Yorkshire  OS Map Ref TA09456558  Elevation: 91M OSD
OS Maps - Landranger 101 (Scarborough), Explorer 301 (Scarborough, Bridlington & Flamborough Head)

Round barrow on the summit of Rudston Beacon
Large round barrow on the summit of Rudston Beacon.
Rudston Beacon is a hill to the south of Rudston village that seems to have played an important part in the ritual landscape of the Great Wold Valley and the Gypsey Race.

Although the hill reaches no great height at only 90 metres above sea level it is visible from some distance to the north and particularly from the valley of the Gypsey Race as it flows into Rudston. It appears that it may have been the focus of the neolithic Argham cursus which starts on raised ground to the east of Burton Fleming, passes the henge at Little Argham and appears to terminate close to the Rudston monolith. The cursus appears to be roughly aligned on the hill throughout its two and a half mile (3.8 Kilometre) course. Another of one of the four cursuses in the local landscape, the Beacon cursus, also roughly aligns with the hill for most of it length but skirts off at an angle at its southern extent to end on its eastern slopes.

The hill seems to have maintained its importance in later centuries as the study of old maps, records of 19th century excavations and photographs of cropmarks of the area around the Beacon reveal it became the focus of a group of Bronze Age round barrows. Piecing together the evidence points about ten barrows clustered around the summit of the hill with a further thirty or so barrows or ring ditches on its eastern slope as it runs down to meet the southern end of Beacon Cursus. It was in one of the barrows close to the cursus that antiquarian Canon Greenwell discovered a well preserved double cist which he removed and placed in the grounds of Rudston Churchyard where it can now be seen in the northeast corner next to the boundary wall (see Rudston Monolith page).

Interestingly author and musician Julian Cope claims that from another round barrow at Folkton on Kirkheads 8 miles (13 Kilometres) to the north a dip in the horizon allows a glimpse of Rudston Beacon, whether this was significant to the Bronze Age barrow builders or just a chance of geography is not known.

The barrows on Rudston Beacon have been badly damaged by ploughing over the centuries but at least two mounds can still be clearly seen, the one shown in the photograph at the top of the page is the largest and appears to be at the highest point of the hill.

See also: Introduction and maps of the Rudston Landscape
Plan of the barrows on Rudston Beacon
OS map of 1890 showing Rudston Beacon overlaid with sites of existing round barrows or cropmarks suggesting the location of destroyed barrows. The earthworks at the southern end of the Beacon Cursus were still clearly visible at this time and are shown as the U shaped earthwork to the right of the image and marked as 'Intrenchment'.
Basemap reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Back to Index Map | Home | Full Glossary | Links | Email: