Great Hale - Report published in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (2001)

Jo Buckberry and Dawn Hadley

Skeletal material from Great Hale, found in 1981 immediately north of the Methodist Chapel, was recently radiocarbon dated(1)' The burials did not belong to the Methodist Chapel, which had no cemetery, and it was initially concluded that 'the significance of these inhumations remains a mystery(2). However, on the basis of recent research at the University of Sheffield, the form and the location of the burials suggested that they may have been of a middle to late Anglo-Saxon date. They were aligned west-east and were located about seventy metres outside the boundary of the medieval parish church. Burials of this type and in such a location have regularly been shown to date to the eighth to the eleventh centuries (for example, Crayke, Addingham (Yorks), Shipton-under-Wychwood (Oxon)) suggesting that the cemeteries to which they belonged were larger than, or else in a slightly different location from, their later medieval successors(3). A small iron buckle was found during excavation, and appears to have come from a burial. Although it was considered undatable, its presence does not militate against the burials belonging to the middle to later Anglo-Saxon period, given that burials of this date occasionally contain a buckle or a small knife(4). A sample from the skeleton associated with the buckle was dated to 655-765 AD cal (1 CT range), revealing that this was the location of a largely unfurnished middle Anglo-Saxon cemetery(5).


  1. These dates were funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and were dated as part of on-going research in the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Sheffield.
  2. 'Archaeology in Lincolnshire and South Humberside, 1981', LHA 17(1982), p.76.
  3. D. M. Hadley, 'Burial practices in the northern Danelaw, c.650-1100', Northern History 36 (2000), pp. 199-216, esp. pp.205-09.
  4. J. Blair, Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire (1994), pp.72-73.
  5. Uncalibrated date 1334±33 BP (OxA-10813). Date calibrated using Oxcal (v3.5) and the 'INTCAL98' calibration curve.