Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow known as Michael Morey's Hump, and a Highway Commission barrier on Gallows Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Arreton, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.6841 / 50°41'2"N

Longitude: -1.2432 / 1°14'35"W

OS Eastings: 453560.352409

OS Northings: 87436.015279

OS Grid: SZ535874

Mapcode National: GBR 9D3.4HH

Mapcode Global: FRA 8788.KGV

Entry Name: Bowl barrow known as Michael Morey's Hump, and a Highway Commission barrier on Gallows Hill

Scheduled Date: 6 September 1954

Last Amended: 28 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010008

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22025

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Arreton

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Arreton St George

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes a bowl barrow and the end of a Highway Commission
barrier abutting the barrow. The monument lies halfway down a west facing spur
in an area of chalk downland with views to the south and west. The barrow was
originally one of a group of three, but is now the only one to survive on this
part of Gallows Hill.

The barrow has a mound which measures 24m east-west and 19m north-south, the
truncation due to the construction of a road on its north east side. The mound
is 1.5m high when viewed from the south, and 3m high when viewed from the
north. Surrounding the mound, on all but the north east side where it has been
removed, is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction.
This has become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground
level but survives as a buried feature c.5m wide. Additional to this there is
a 2m margin around the monument on all but the north east side to ensure its

The Highway Commission barrier which abuts the barrow was built in 1815 to
serve as a road block. The barrier can no longer be seen at ground level
beyond the barrow mound, but can be seen as a small mound, c.0.5m high and
c.4m wide, at the base of the barrow on its south west side.

The barrow is called Michael Morey's Hump because of the story that Michael
Morey hid in a cave beneath it. About 1730 he was hanged from a gibbet for the
murder of his grandson. The barrow was opened in 1815 by Thomas Cooke who
found seven extended skeletons, including those of two children. Near each
skeleton was an iron knife blade. Two circular brass buckles, a bone comb and
spearhead were also found. The stone socket of the gibbet erected for Michael
Morey was found at the centre of the barrow. Excavation of the area to the
south west of the barrow by the Isle of Wight Archaeological Unit in 1990
showed that the barrow ditch was c.0.5m deep, and showed the Highway barrier
as a chalk bank abutting the barrow.

The post and wire fence which edges the road, and the telegraph pole and its
supports which lie on the verge of the road, are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. 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
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The bowl barrow called Michael Morey's Hump on Gallows Hill survives well and
is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the monument. The construction of a Highway
Commission barrier abutting the barrow is an interesting example of subsequent

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Phillips, K S, For Rooks and Ravens. The Execution of Michael Morey of Arreton, (1981), 22
Grinsell, , Sherwin, , 'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc' in Procedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc, , Vol. 3, (1940), 188,207
Kell, E, 'Journal of the British Archaeological Association' in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, , Vol. 5, (1850), 365-7
14th July 1979 2303/3/416, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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