Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Bell Barrow called Boadicea's Grave, 650m west of Millfield Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Hampstead Town, Camden

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Latitude: 51.5631 / 51°33'47"N

Longitude: -0.1638 / 0°9'49"W

OS Eastings: 527374.788199

OS Northings: 186506.908948

OS Grid: TQ273865

Mapcode National: GBR D0.CC0

Mapcode Global: VHGQL.3ZR4

Entry Name: Bell Barrow called Boadicea's Grave, 650m west of Millfield Cottage

Scheduled Date: 12 January 1965

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002059

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 7

County: Camden

Electoral Ward/Division: Hampstead Town

Built-Up Area: Camden

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Anne Brookfield

Church of England Diocese: London


The monument includes a bell barrow situated near the summit of Parliament Hill, south of Highgate Ponds at Hampstead Heath. It survives as a roughly circular-shaped mound, 36m in diameter and up to 3m high. Around the barrow is a berm or platform varying between 3.5m and 4.5m wide. Surrounding this is a quarry ditch, varying between 4.8m and 6m wide, from which material to construct the barrow was derived.
The barrow was partially excavated by Charles Read in 1894 but only pieces of charcoal were recovered. Read concluded that the burial may have completely decomposed given the acidity of the soil. The barrow is shown in a drawing of 1725 by the antiquarian William Stukeley.
The name of the barrow is derived from a local tradition stating it was the site of Boadicea's (or Boudica's) grave. Boadicea was the queen of the Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying Roman forces in about AD 60.
The monument excludes the modern path which impinges on the monument, all marker posts, modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts but the ground beneath all these features is included.

Sources: NMR TQ28NE2. PastScape 401367.
Dyer, James. 2001. Discovering Prehistoric England: A gazetteer of prehistoric sites. p102. Westminster: Shire Books.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.
The bell barrow called Boadicea's Grave, 650m west of Millfield Cottage survives well. It will contain both archaeological and environmental information relating to the mound and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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