Historic site near Burton Fleming rescued and removed from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register

An historic site in the East Riding area has been rescued and removed from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 12:20 am
Willy Howe round barrow near Burton Fleming. Photo: Alun Bull
Willy Howe round barrow near Burton Fleming. Photo: Alun Bull

Willy Howe round barrow, which is based near Wold Newton Road, Burton Fleming, was one of 16 entries removed from the 2020 register.

Dating from the late Bronze Age (2400-1500BC), Willy Howe is a round barrow, a type of prehistoric grave monument.

Many barrows contain human remains but two partial excavations in the 19th Century failed to find any.

However, legend has it that the mound was home to inhabitants of a more mythical kind. Willy Howe is thought to be the setting of a folk tale chronicled by William of Newburgh in the 12th century.

In it, he tells of a drunk man who discovers a group of fairies partying in the mound.

They invite him for a drink but he pours it away and steals the cup which eventually ended up in the possession of King Henry I.

An Historic England spokesman said: “Unfortunately, not even fairy magic could prevent Willy Howe becoming overgrown with brambles and invasive weeds which damaged the site and obscured it from view.

“Fortunately, grants from Natural England and more recently, Historic England have enabled Willy Howe’s owner to suppress the unwanted vegetation and enable public access.”

Trevor Mitchell, regional director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire, said: “It is the varied tapestry of our historic places in Yorkshire that helps us define who we are.

“In testing times such as these, heritage can give us a sense of continuity and bring us comfort. We also know that investing in Yorkshire’s historic places can help boost our economic recovery.

“The 16 places in Yorkshire rescued from the register this year show us that good progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go and many more historic buildings and places which need TLC, funding, strong partnership working and community support to give them a brighter future.”