The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Barrow Hill

Kerbed Cairn


There are a few other reasons to suggest that Summerhouse Hill was special to the people who lived around Leighton Moss. A few hundred yards to the south east, down the slope towards the metalled road on Peter Hill, are the remains of a round kerbed cairn.

Set among the trees and difficult to spot at first, the cairn is less than 2 feet high but 40 feet across. It has a noticeable circular dent in its top where it was opened up more than 200m years ago. The celebrated London physician and sometime amateur antiquarian John Coakley Lettsom witness the excavation of the burial site in 1778.

Lettsom was a Quaker and the founder of the Medical Society of London. He was also a regular visitor at the home of Thomas Rawlinson, the Yealand merchant and shipowner. In an address to the Society of Antiquaries of London, Lettsom declared that on opening the cairn he had discovered 'an urn containing between 3 and 4 quarts of human bones' and 'a human skeleton, and a large glass bead of a blue colour above an inch in diameter'.

Sadly no trace remains of the bones or bead. And while the Bronze Age beaker sat for many years on a shelf at nearby Yealand Manor, local gossip has it that it was broken and thrown away by a superstitious house-maid. Interestingly, in his talk to fellow antiquarians Lettsom said that his dig took place on Barrow Hill - an old name for Summerhouse Hill - where there were 'many barrows of earth and stone'. And he added that since his own excavation other barrows had been opened and many human bones found.

Leighton Moss Ice Age To Present Day by Andy Denwood (Published 2014)
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
13th January 2015ce
Edited 13th January 2015ce

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