Robin Hood's Butts (Danby Low Moor)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
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Coordinate 54.492918, -0.899206
Adm. div. North Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity Gerrick Moor, c. 1.8 km W of Ravenscar
Type Prehistoric site
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant
First Record 1856
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Robin Hood's Butts. The topic of the present page is
the third from the left (west).
Robin Hood's Butt is a favourite with the sheep / Doc Brown.
Robin Hood's Butt viewed from the road to Danby / Google Earth.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-07-17. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-06.

Three or four ancient barrows on Gerrick Moor and Danby Low Moor on the North Yorkshire Moors area are (or were) known collectively as Robin Hood's Butts. That furthest to the east, as indicated on the Google map, is a large tumulus, about 3.5 m high and c. 30 m in diameter. Canon Atkinson excavated it in 1864, but the primary burial had then already been removed. He found a substantial number of flints, worked and unworked, as well as a secondary burial, an urn, c. 5.5 m from the centre of the mound.[1]

Dobson & Taylor, following previous writers, refer to this and the other Robin Hood's Butts as "[t]hree tumuli on Danby Low Moor and others further north on Gerrick Moor towards Skelton".[2] English Heritage lists the easternmost tumulus, which we are here discussing, as situated in Danby, and this may well be correct, but the tumulus is located at most a couple of hundred meters east of the (other) Butts on Gerrick Moor, not south towards Danby.[3] I have not come across any concrete and specific reference to other Robin Hood's Butts in the area near Danby than those on, or in the immediate vicinity of, Gerrick Moor. Probably these same butts have been variously referred to as being on Gerrick Moor or neighbouring Danby Low Moor. The remains of a Neolithic and a Bronze Age barrow are in fact to be found on Elm Ledge, just north of the village of Danby,[4], but I have found no indication they were ever known as Robin Hood's Butts.

The number of mounds included under the name "Robin Hood's Butts" in this vicinity may have decreased over time as mounds that were once clearly visible, perhaps even prominent, landscape features were razed to the ground by so-called antiquarians digging for "curious" artifacts or remains or by people in search of stones and gravel for use as building materials or in road construction. Canon Atkinson, an amateur archaeologist who discussed these mounds in two magazine articles (see section "Background" below), was a noted spoiler of ancient burial mounds.[5] So far I have found no earlier source for this place-name than the 6" O.S. map of the area published in 1856 (see Maps section below).

See the page on places named Robin Hood's Butts for a general discussion and list of such names.




Also see