Ancient Monuments

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Woodhouse Hanging round barrows

A Scheduled Monument in Bowerchalke, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 50.9979 / 50°59'52"N

Longitude: -2.0011 / 2°0'3"W

OS Eastings: 400017.862686

OS Northings: 122059.853983

OS Grid: SU000220

Mapcode National: GBR 2Z8.BW8

Mapcode Global: FRA 66PG.XXX

Entry Name: Woodhouse Hanging round barrows

Scheduled Date: 15 July 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003727

English Heritage Legacy ID: WI 461

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Bowerchalke

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Bowerchalke Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


Four bowl barrows 865m south west of Woodminton Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 22 September 2015. 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 includes four immediately adjoining bowl barrows in a linear arrangement and aligned east to west along the upper steep slopes of an escarpment called Wood House Hanging overlooking the distant valley of a tributary to the River Ebble. The barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by largely buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The mounds vary in size from 12m in diameter up to 20m and from 0.3m up to 0.4m high. One has a 0.2m deep visible ditch and others have partially visible traces of their ditches to the north and south sides of varying lengths. All four barrows were excavated by Clay in 1925 and produced various numbers of barrel or globular shaped urns of the Deveril-Rimbury type containing cremations some primary and upright beneath stone slabs and others disturbed including one in particular which had been tampered with by the insertion of Romano-British material. One barrow contained only a leg bone from the primary interment; one had a primary cremation in a smashed barrel urn; one had three cremations in barrel urns and a secondary cremation in the ditch; and finally the richest barrow contained 18 cremations in barrel urns and three in globular urns.

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. All surviving examples within this area are, therefore, considered to be of importance. Much is already known about the four bowl barrows 865m south west of Woodminton Farm, but they 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 214233; Wiltshire HER SU02SW607, SU02SW608, SU02SW609 and SU02SW610

Source: Historic England

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