Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow at Shirley Holms, 710m east-north-east of Little Purley Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Sway, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.786 / 50°47'9"N

Longitude: -1.5825 / 1°34'57"W

OS Eastings: 429525.233401

OS Northings: 98572.948499

OS Grid: SZ295985

Mapcode National: GBR 66B.NQ8

Mapcode Global: FRA 77K0.K9D

Entry Name: Bell barrow at Shirley Holms, 710m east-north-east of Little Purley Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 May 1960

Last Amended: 13 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008800

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20329

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Sway

Built-Up Area: Sway

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Sway St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


This monument includes a bell barrow situated on the brow of an east facing
slope overlooking Milking Pound Bottom. The barrow mound measures 32m in
diameter and stands up to 3m high. Several hollows in the centre of the mound
suggest robbing or partial excavation. Surrounding the mound is a level
platform, surviving to an average width of 4.5m and a ditch, from which
material was quarried during the construction of the barrow. The ditch has
become partly infilled over the years, but survives as a slight earthwork 4.5m
wide and 0.9m deep. The overall diameter of the barrow is 51m.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Despite evidence for partial excavation, the bell barrow at Shirley Holms,
710m east-north-east of Little Purley Farm, survives comparatively well as
part of a small cluster of round barrows in the New Forest, an area known to
have been important in terms of lowland Bronze Age occupation. A considerable
amount of archaeological evidence has survived in this area because of a lack
of agricultural activity, the result of later climatic deterioration,
development of heath and the establishment of a Royal Forest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club' in Hampshire Barrows, , Vol. 14, (1938), 213

Source: Historic England

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