Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow re-used as a moot 205m SSE of Chelwood

A Scheduled Monument in Alveston, South Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5924 / 51°35'32"N

Longitude: -2.5412 / 2°32'28"W

OS Eastings: 362603.960156

OS Northings: 188305.408132

OS Grid: ST626883

Mapcode National: GBR JS.BZDB

Mapcode Global: VH882.W7XN

Entry Name: Bowl barrow re-used as a moot 205m SSE of Chelwood

Scheduled Date: 25 January 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004805

English Heritage Legacy ID: SG 45

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Alveston

Built-Up Area: Alveston

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Olveston

Church of England Diocese: Bristol

Details

The monument includes a bowl barrow which was later re-used as a moot, situated on the summit of a broad prominent hill called Alveston Down. The barrow survives as a circular flat-topped mound measuring approximately 25m in diameter and 1m high. It is surrounded by a buried quarry ditch, from which the material for its construction was derived.

The barrow is known in old documents by the place name 'Langley' and is mentioned in charters as a meeting place for the Anglo-Saxon Hundred when it was re-used as a moot. It was partially excavated in 1890 when a primary deposit of ashes and burnt bone was discovered beneath a covering of sand and small stones.

Sources: PastScape 201506
South Gloucestershire HER 1463 and13083

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period 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. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.

Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually surrounded by a ditch. Occasionally, prehistoric barrows were remodelled to provide suitable sites. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000 moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man-made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features. On this basis, all well preserved or historically well documented moot mounds are identified as important.

Despite partial early excavation the bowl barrow re-used as a moot 205m SSE of Chelwood survives comparatively well and has been largely excluded from the surrounding cultivations. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, funerary and ritual practices, re-use and continued significance as a moot and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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