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The Five Marys round barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Chaldon Herring, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6571 / 50°39'25"N

Longitude: -2.2981 / 2°17'53"W

OS Eastings: 379023.932562

OS Northings: 84204.122851

OS Grid: SY790842

Mapcode National: GBR 109.MTZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 672B.NHH

Entry Name: The Five Marys round barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 27 February 1957

Last Amended: 26 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013344

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21908

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Chaldon Herring

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a round barrow cemetery known as the Five Marys which
lies on a ridge top overlooking the village of Chaldon Herring to the south
and Owermoigne and the marshes of Galton Heath to the north. The cemetery
includes two bell barrows, a pond barrow and seven bowl barrows.
The most westerly barrow in the group is a bowl barrow c.3.2m high and 24m
across. The surrounding quarry ditch, where visible, is c.2.5m wide and 0.75m
deep. Some 40m to the east of this is a bell barrow, the mound of which is
c.3.3m high and 21m across. Surrounding the mound is a 2m wide berm or
platform and an outer ditch 2.5m wide and 0.2m deep.
East of this and between it and the next bell barrow, are two small bowl
barrows and a pond barrow. The bowl barrows are 6m and 8m across and 0.2m and
0.3m high respectively. The pond barrow is no longer visible at ground level
having been infilled but was recorded as 2.75m across with a 1.8m wide outer
The bell barrow further to the east has a flat-topped mound 3.5m high and 18m
in diameter. Surrounding the mound is a berm 1m wide and outer ditch 1.5m
wide and 0.3m deep.
At the eastern end of the cemetery are four further bowl barrows. These vary
in size from 5m to 18m across and in height from 0.2m to 2.5m. although all
these are ditched, only the ditch of the largest mound is visible as an
earthwork, surviving to a width of 3m and 0.4m deep. A further mound in this
area, 10m across and 0.5m high, may be a barrow but is more likely to be spoil
deriving from the excavation of the larger of the eastern mounds.
This group of barrows were shown as 'Five meers' (boundary marks) on Taylor's
map of Dorset in 1765. Two of the barrows in the group were excavated before
1866 under the direction of the exiled Duchess of Berry who resided at
Lulworth Castle after the dethronement of Charles Xth of France in 1830. In
one barrow a deep chalk-cut grave was found containing an adult male and
female inhumation, in a contracted (sitting) position. Both skeletons had stag
antlers on each shoulder. The second barrow also contained a skeleton in a
deep chalk-cut grave with stag antlers similarly positioned. This barrow also
contained a secondary cremation in the upper part of the mound. It is thought
that the two excavated barrows were the first and the third large barrows from
the west end of the cemetery.
This round barrow cemetery forms part of a line of ridge top barrows
stretching to Moigns Down in the west and ending with a barrow to the east of
the Five Marys group.
The post and wire fence which cuts the ditches of the barrows on their north
side is excluded from the scheduling, as is the fence on the east side of the
easternmost barrow, and the boundary to the west of the most western barrow,
but the ground beneath is included in the scheduling. The concrete trough
between the second and third large bell barrows is excluded although the
ground beneath is included in the scheduling. Parts of the public path and
trackway through the monument are included in the scheduling where it
encroaches to within 2m of the outside of the ditches of the individual

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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

The seven bowl barrows, two bell barrows and a pond barrow forming part of the
'Five Marys' barrow cemetery are believed to represent an accumulation of
burial monuments over a period of time. The combination of different barrow
types is unusual, and provides a valuable insight into the social organisation
of Bronze Age communities in this area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , County of Dorset , (1970)
Grinsell, L V, 'Procs Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Soc.' in Dorset Barrows, (1959)

Source: Historic England

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