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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

FERRYBRIDGE HENGE

A FOCUS OF A RITUAL LANDSCAPE

AIRE STREET | PONTEFRACT CASTLE 
METHODIST CHURCH | 1863 OPENING OF THE TUMULUS

Ferrybridge Henge is the premier early prehistoric ceremonial monument in West Yorkshire.  A focus of a ritual landscape during the Neolithic period, it is a site of national importance and its environmental remains have helped to build up a picture of the local ecology almost 4,000 years ago.

The Neolithic period spanned the years c.4000 to c750 BC but it was between the years c.4000 to c.1500 BC when circular henge monuments began to appear.  Stonehenge in Wiltshire is the most famous of these.

The area was developed by the Celts during the Iron Age and Roman Occupation period and their remains abut the earlier site.  Air photography has revealed a large oval enclosure about 113 x 145 metres within the Celtic zone.

A recent excavation in the early 1990's uncovered what is believed to be an Iron Age sword scabbard dating from the 3rd Century BC.  It had been deliberately bent and broken which was a common practice when making votive offerings. The scabbard has now been donated to the British Museum for display. The site was later used as an Anglo Saxon burial ground and was only lost as a sacred site during the Mediaeval period.

Idle curiosity and the idea of concealed treasures contributed to its mutilation during the early part of the nineteenth century.  An attempt by the then occupant of the field, Mr. Hall, to remove it altogether in 1811 was abandoned after the discovery of many human bones.  The exhumed bones were removed to the neighbouring Church yard of Ferry Fryston.  In later years, the construction of Ferrybridge 'C' Power Station destroyed a large area of the henge along with other relics of our earlier history.

The Tumulus, as these Sepulchral mounds are also known, was opened in 1863 and in his book 'History of Knottingley' published in 1871, C. Forrest gives a descriptive account of the excavation and findings.

To learn more about this important site, please read the accompanying literature which was supplied to us by William Dobson, together with photographs of the sword scabbard.

Ferrybridge Henge News Ferrybridge Henge News

Ferrybridge Henge News

Sword Scabbard Sword Scabbard Sword Scabbard

Photographs of the sword scabbard

The following letters from the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service and the British Museum, give details surrounding the discovery of the scabbard and its donation to the British Museum.

Letter from West Yorks Archaeology Service Letter from British Museum

Documents giving details of the discovery of the scabbard and its donation to the British Museum.

 


1863 OPENING OF THE TUMULUS


 

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