'Stonehenge of the North' reunited

Thanks to NHMF funding, English Heritage has acquired the final of three Thornborough Henges, ensuring public access to the entirety of one of Britain’s most significant prehistoric monuments.

Finally reunited

Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire is now finally reunited. English Heritage has acquired Thornborough’s northern henge, thanks to £150,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and support from other donors.  

An aerial view of the landscape featuring the Thornborough henges
Thornborough Henges. Credit: Historic England.

English Heritage already owns the central and southern henges and the purchase of the northern henge places the monument under one single owner for the first time in many years.

Thornborough Henges – in its entirety – now joins Stonehenge, Iron Bridge, Dover Castle, Kenwood and numerous Roman sites on Hadrian’s Wall within the National Heritage Collection, under the care of English Heritage. Entry to Thornborough Henges is free and later this year, the northern henge will receive new interpretation explaining its significance.  

Freely accessible for all to enjoy

The acquisition guarantees public access to the whole of this remarkable Neolithic monument. And it allows English Heritage to share with visitors the full story of Thornborough Henges so that they can better understand the henges’ significance and scale as well as how each individual henge relates to the others.  

Dr Simon Thurley CBE, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: “The National Heritage Memorial Fund is proud to have supported this magnificent acquisition, reuniting the henges in single ownership and securing public access. Adding the henges to the National Heritage Collection in the expert care of English Heritage is a long-held ambition and NHMF offers its congratulations to those who made it possible.”

A remarkable survivor from deep, deep history

Often referred to as 'the Stonehenge of the North', the Thornborough Henges comprise of three large circular earthworks (known as ‘henges’) each more than 200 metres in diameter.

Dating from 3500 to 2500 BC the henges are of outstanding national significance, a place where people gathered for ceremonies for at least 2,000 years. Thornborough is probably the most important single ancient site between Stonehenge and the Orkney Islands in Scotland.

Gerard Lemos CMG CBE, Chair of English Heritage, said: “The Thornborough Henges are a remarkable survivor from the prehistoric past, from deep, deep history. We are incredibly proud that all three henges are now reunited under one single owner and their future secure.

"English Heritage will ensure that the entire monument is given the care it deserves. Reuniting the henges like this means that the public is now able to explore all three and re-connect with the people who gathered here 4,500 years ago.” 

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