Tumulus: OS Grid Reference – TA 065 788
Archaeology & History
This once impressive tumulus a half-mile east of the village* was first mentioned in the Bardney Cartulary in the early 13th century, where is was written as Spelhou. Suggested by Olof Anderson (1934) to have been an early moot site — “the meeting place of the Torbar Hundred” — this appears to be confirmed in Smith’s (1937) etymological analysis where he ascribes Spell Howe to be literally, “‘Speech mound’, from OE spell, speech and haugr” (burial mound).
Anderson, O.S., The English Hundred-Names, Lunds Universitets Arsskrift 1934.
Mortimer, J.R., Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, Brown & Sons: Hull 1905.
Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the East Riding of Yorkshire and York, Cambridge University Press 1937.
* imprisoned in private grounds; unsure whether the owners are friendly or miserable; someone let us know if y’ can!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian