Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain on the western edge of Fargo Plantation and south of The Cursus: part of The Cursus round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.1839 / 51°11'2"N

Longitude: -1.8428 / 1°50'33"W

OS Eastings: 411084.992222

OS Northings: 142756.259908

OS Grid: SU110427

Mapcode National: GBR 3YH.NY7

Mapcode Global: VHB5B.0HNR

Entry Name: Bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain on the western edge of Fargo Plantation and south of The Cursus: part of The Cursus round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 1 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012395

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10336

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Stoke

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Amesbury St Mary and St Melor

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a large bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain
situated on the western edge of Fargo Plantation south of the Cursus and
forming part of the Cursus round barrow cemetery. The location has views
westwards across Winterbourne Stoke Down towards the valley of the River Till,
and prior to the planting of trees it had views to the south east towards
Stonehenge and Normanton Down. The Cursus round barrow cemetery contains 16
round barrows in all, including seven bowl barrows, six bell barrows, a twin
bell barrow and a disc barrow.
The barrow has a mound 28m in diameter and 3.5m high. It is surrounded by a
sloping raised berm 6m wide, which in turn is surrounded by a ditch 6m wide
and 0.5m deep from which material was quarried during the construction of the
monument. The overall diameter is therefore 52m. Partial excavation in the
19th century revealed charred wood.

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

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
Two of the best known and earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and
Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site.
The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the
densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in
Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge
cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many
grouped into cemeteries.
The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th
century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a
number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from
the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and
burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In
view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of
this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as
nationally important.
Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow and occasionally associated with
earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has
occurred, contemporary or later 'flat' burials between the barrow mounds have
often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland
England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are
clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both
here and at Avebury. Often occupying prominent positions, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their
longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or, as in
this case, in round barrow cemeteries. Bell barrows were constructed as single
or multiple mounds covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an
enclosure ditch. The burials in bell barrows appear to be those of
aristocratic individuals and are also frequently accompanied by weapons,
personal ornaments and pottery vessels. Bell barrows are rare nationally with
only 250 examples known of which 30 are located within the Stonehenge area.

The bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain situated south of the Cursus
and on the western edge of Fargo Plantation survives well and is known from
partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 207
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 164

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.