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Lilla Howe

Round Barrow(s)

<b>Lilla Howe</b>Posted by Chris CollyerImage © Chris Collyer
Nearest Town:Whitby (12km N)
OS Ref (GB):   SE88919868 / Sheets: 94, 101
Latitude:54° 22' 32.16" N
Longitude:   0° 37' 51.95" W

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<b>Lilla Howe</b>Posted by Chris Collyer <b>Lilla Howe</b>Posted by Chris Collyer <b>Lilla Howe</b>Posted by Chris Collyer


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Lilla Howe is said to be the grave of King Edwin of Northumbria's minister, Lilla. An assassin had been sent to kill the king, but loyal mate and Christian, Lilla leapt in front of the poisoned sword blade. He was buried where he fell. Edwin renounced his heathen ways and became a Christian. A cross - Lilla Cross - was erected on the howe.

Really Lilla was around in the 8th century, whereas the cross is thought to be 10th century - and of course, the mound was originally built in the Bronze Age. But don't let this distract you from a good story.

Whatever, it's been an important part of the landscape and the way people interpret the landscape, for a very long time. It's on the junction of two medieval packhorse tracks, and also marks the boundary between four medieval parishes.

The cross has been moved about, but this is its original spot - it was mentioned in a 11thC manuscript as a boundary marker. The barrow itself was reused for burials in Anglo Saxon times and finds from that era have turned up in excavations.

(info largely from the sm record on Magic).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th August 2007ce
Edited 12th August 2007ce


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Details of site on Pastscape

Bronze Age round barrow containing a secondary Anglo-Saxon burial accompanied by grave goods including rings and a brooch. A cross erected to mark the site of later burial, well weathered but still in situ. The Saxon inhumation is reputed to be that of Lilla, a thegn of King Edwin who died in 625 protecting the King from assasination.

(SE 88929868) Lilla Cross (NR) on Lilla Howe (Tumulus) (NR). (1)
(SE 88929868) Lilla Howe (NR). (2)
Lilla Howe, a Bronze Age barrow in which Lilla, minister to King Edwin, is buried. He had been killed in an assassination attempt on the king's life in AD 626. The burial was accompanied by silver and gold ornaments, a brooch and several rings of gold. The cross, erected to mark the site, was temporarily removed during military training in the area. (3)
Two gold discs and four silver tags were in the Mayer Collection at Liverpool, destroyed by enemy action in 1942. (4)
Lilla Cross, a monolith some 7 1/2 ft high, the head of Maltese form, roughly cut. (5)
Lolla Howe, a round barrow, is situated at SW 88919869 and is surmounted by Lilla Cross. The barrow (22m diam and 1.8m high) is basically heather covered but there is a certain amount of loose stone which has been deposited by hikers. It has a slightly hollowed top. The cross, well weathered, is in a fair state of preservation.
Barrow and cross surveyed at 1:10,000. (6)
SE 889 986. Lilla Cross and tumuli (Lilla Howe and adjacent round barrow). Scheduled No NY/173. (7)

( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1919
( 2) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1958
( 3) General reference N York Moors 1966 40 84-5 (A Raistrick)
( 4) Annotated Record Map Corr 6" (N Mitchelson undated)
( 5) edited by William Page 1914 The Victoria history of the county of York, North Riding, volume one The Victoria history of the counties of England Page(s)463
( 6) Field Investigators Comments F1 JB 11-FEB-74
(7) Scheduled Monument Notification English Heritage, SAM List, North Yorkshire, March 1994, p 63
Chance Posted by Chance
8th March 2012ce