English Heritage completes acquisition of ‘Stonehenge of the North’

The third and final of the Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire has been acquired by the charity

The Thornborough Henges, a prehistoric monument in North Yorkshire, is now under single ownership after its acquisition by English Heritage.

The charity today announced the acquisition of the third and final henge, with backing from The National Heritage Memorial Fund, Jamie Ritblat and family, and The SCS Trust.

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

Last year the central and southern henges and their surrounding lands were gifted to Historic England and English Heritage by the construction companies Tarmac and Lightwater Holdings.

With the final northern henge acquired from its private owner, it puts the complete Thornorough Henges under one owner for the first time in at least 1,500 years, the charity claims.

It 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.

English Heritage said the acquisition “not only guarantees public access in perpetuity to the entirety of this remarkable Neolithic monument but 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”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Richmond parliamentary constituency includes Thornborough Henges, said: “Having recently visited the henges site, I know how truly remarkable the totality of the monument is. Bringing all three henges together in the ownership of English Heritage ensures their preservation and enhances the charity’s ability to tell the story of the earthworks and their importance to the pre-history of our nation.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said the acquisition of the third henge “marks the culmination of years of hard work and tenacity to unite and safeguard Thornborough Henges for future generations.”