a partner church in the WOLDSBURN benefice
Kirkburn got its present name after the church had been built. (“Kirk” is old English for church and “burn” means stream or little river) Previously it was known as Westburn (west of the little river) and Eastburn and Southburn still exist in the area, and form part of the ecclesiastical parish. The name Westburn was to be found in the Domesday Book, (a survey in 1086 of life in England). But the village existed long before 1086 and a most important discovery was made in 1987 by archaeologists working on behalf of the British Museum.. In the pre-Christian period in or around 300-200 B.C life expectancy was between 30/40 years. Few people were buried in graves, except in the Yorkshire area. Evidently a most important man of the times, aged about 30, (for those days an old man) was buried ritually (3 spears were thrust into him after death) In the grave was
found a sword and scabbard. Another grave
was found nearby and a chariot was buried with that body.
The sword handle was unusually elaborate . It consists of 37 pieces of iron, bronze and horn and decorated with red glass. There was a scabbard of polished bronze decorated with a scrollwork pattern and with glass studs and insets.
The Kirkburn sword is possibly the finest existing Iron Age Sword. It is in the British Museum to which it was gifted by the late Mr.J.S. Rymer, together with a pair of linch pins from the chariot mentioned above (on the link page go to ‘related Items’ and click the centre picture, top line
http://www.churchatkirkburn.org.uk/page19.html kirkburn sword
an “outward looking “ church (view from the lych gate)
Photos courtesy J. Illingworth