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Bateman’s Tomb at Middleton-by-Youlgreave

 Bateman’s Tomb at Middleton-by-Youlgreave

If you walk up the grassy path behind the converted chapel in the little village of Middleton-by-Youlgreave you will come to the tomb of Thomas Bateman who died in 1861 at the age of 39. He had lived at nearby Lomberdale Hall and was an enthusiastic archaeologist with a passion for the Peak District’s ancient history.

Thomas Bateman was responsible for discovering and ‘opening up’ burial mounds known as tumuli or barrows, many of which were sited on the tops of hills and are now referred to on Ordnance Survey maps as ‘lows’.

During his brief adult life he excavated more than 100 sites and became known as the ‘barrow digger’.

One of Thomas Bateman’s most famous finds was the Benty Grange Helmet which he discovered in 1848 in an Anglo Saxon tumulus close to Benty Grange Farm. The helmet had a bronze boar on the crest, similar to those known to have been worn by the warriors of Beowulf.

A collection of the materials and artefacts found, including the remains of the helmet was given to the Sheffield City Museum.

This is the reason why the grave is topped with a stone urn, to replicate some of the finds Thomas Bateman made in his excavations.

It is said that Thomas Bateman paid for the erection of the nearby Congregational Chapel, but chose to be buried in the open field behind it. The grave is on private land but with access on the concessionary path.