How many places can you see the surviving traces of early medieval burial mounds within churchyards?
‘Not many’ is the answer. In fact, apart from the famous early 7th-century princely mound at Taplow, Buckinghamshire, and the likely mounds within St Materiana’s churchyard, Tintagel, Cornwall, which might date back to the Early Middle Ages. I don’t think I’ve visited any other churchyards with demonstrably early medieval burial monuments visible above the surface for visitors to see.
There are a fair number of churches associated with prehistoric monuments, as at Ogbourne St Andrew (Wiltshire), Stanton Drew (Somerset) or Rudston (Yorkshire). This association might reveal a connection of early medieval funerary and ceremonial reuse behind the association which might have involved the raising of new burial mounds in their earliest, 7th-century, phase. As at Ripon, we see…
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