Ancient Monuments

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Five Wells chambered tomb

A Scheduled Monument in Taddington, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2362 / 53°14'10"N

Longitude: -1.816 / 1°48'57"W

OS Eastings: 412376.889949

OS Northings: 371037.965244

OS Grid: SK123710

Mapcode National: GBR 462.3PH

Mapcode Global: WHCCZ.2XHD

Entry Name: Five Wells chambered tomb

Scheduled Date: 5 August 1926

Last Amended: 8 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008940

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13367

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Taddington

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Taddington St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Derby


Five Wells chambered tomb is situated on Taddington Moor on the limestone
plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a roughly circular burial-mound
measuring 23m by 22m and surviving to a height of c.1m. Originally the mound
would have been somewhat higher, but most of the surface was robbed of its
stone in the eighteenth century. Stone was also taken in the late nineteenth
century from the western part and a number of pits on the south side were
created in the mid-twentieth century when material was taken for hard-core.
Visible today are the remains of two limestone orthostat chambers, situated
back to back and orientated east-west with approach passages leading from the
western and eastern edges of the mound. These internal features have paved
floors and were covered by a cairn measuring 16m by 14.5m which was built of
horizontally laid limestone slabs and covered in turn by a mound of earth and
stone. In addition to the recovery of skeletal remains and pottery by workmen
prior to the mid-eighteenth century, there have been four partial excavations
of the monument carried out by Bateman in 1846, Jewitt in 1862, Lukis in 1865
and Salt between 1899 and 1901. Bateman recovered the remains of at least
twelve individuals in the two chambers along with burnt bones and a flint,
while Jewitt found pottery and a flint and Lukis found the remains of three
skeletons in the western passage. Salt found further human remains within the
chambers and passages along with flint implements, which included a
leaf-shaped arrowhead and a plano-convex knife, and sherds of pottery of the
types known as Neolithic plain ware and Peterborough ware. A barbed and
tanged arrowhead was found on the surface of the mound and Salt also uncovered
a cist in the north-western part of the monument which was placed outside the
cairn but within the earth mound. This contained a contracted inhumation and,
along with another inhumation and some burnt bone found in a pit in the top of
the mound, is believed to be a secondary burial. The architectural features
and archaeological remains indicate that the barrow was in use from the Early
Neolithic, with a period of re-use either in the Late Neolithic or to the
Bronze Age.

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

Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early
and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of
stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of
long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities
and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within
the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been
used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having
been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs
suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were
important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are
recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive
as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and
longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be
nationally important.

Although partially disturbed by stone-robbing and excavation, the structure of
Five Wells chambered tomb is reasonably well preserved and surviving
archaeological remains will include the old land surface beneath the barrow on
which further burials would have been placed. In addition, its architectural
features survive well and it is of an unusual type common to the Peak District
in which the burial chambers are covered by a round or sub-circular barrow
instead of the more typical linear form.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849)
Bray, W, Skeletons of a Tomb into Derbyshire and Yorkshire, (1775)
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977)
Pilkington, J, A View of the Present State of Derbyshire, (1789)
Lukis, F C, 'The Reliquary' in Archaeological Notes made by Cpt Francis Dubois Lukis..., (1868)
Manby, T G, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Chambered Tombs of Derbyshire, , Vol. 78, (1958)
Radley, J, Plant, M, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Two Neolithic Sites at Taddington, , Vol. 87, (1967)
Jewitt, A, (1811)

Source: Historic England

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