Ancient Monuments

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Barrows at junction of parish boundaries

A Scheduled Monument in Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.9457 / 50°56'44"N

Longitude: -1.9817 / 1°58'54"W

OS Eastings: 401381.910785

OS Northings: 116253.988859

OS Grid: SU013162

Mapcode National: GBR 2ZW.PSD

Mapcode Global: FRA 66QL.ZS9

Entry Name: Barrows at junction of parish boundaries

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1958

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002791

English Heritage Legacy ID: DO 301

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Sixpenny Handley and Pentridge

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Gussage All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


Three bowl barrows 450m south east of Handley Cross.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 January 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument, which falls into three areas, includes three bowl barrows situated on the summit of a south easterly projecting spur of Handley Hill. The barrows are closely grouped in a linear arrangement and aligned south west to north east. The barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived although for the central barrow the ditch is just visible as an earthwork. The south western mound measures 12m in diameter and 0.7m high. The central mound stands up to 30m in diameter and 2.7m high with a 3m wide and 0.1m deep surrounding ditch. The barrow was partially excavated by Cunnington in around 1800 and produced an urn with large quantities of ashes and charred wood in a pit beneath a cairn. It is believed to be the ‘Berendes beorh’ mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter regarding the boundaries of Handley. The north eastern barrow mound measures 15m in diameter and 1.5m high. It marks the meeting point of the parish boundaries of Sixpenny Handley, Gussage All Saints and Wimborne St Giles. Partially excavated by William Cunnington in the 19th century it produced a cremation in a large ‘barrel’ shaped urn accompanied by a smaller pottery vessel and two intrusive skeletons.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity, some are scheduled separately but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. A cluster of at least 395 examples has been identified on Cranborne Chase. Some of these have been levelled by ploughing but remain visible from the air as ring ditches. Buried remains will nevertheless survive at these sites, both within the ditch fills and associated with the central burial pit. Bowl barrows are particularly representative of their period, whilst their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type will provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of Cranborne Chase. Despite partial early excavation, the three bowl barrows 450m south east of Handley Cross will retain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-1312941, 1312943 and 131918

Source: Historic England

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