Ancient Monuments

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Part of Western Brow round barrow cemetery and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field 690m south of Westmeston Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Westmeston, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8994 / 50°53'57"N

Longitude: -0.0976 / 0°5'51"W

OS Eastings: 533875.55665

OS Northings: 112822.418888

OS Grid: TQ338128

Mapcode National: GBR KPK.D57

Mapcode Global: FRA B6PQ.MTB

Entry Name: Part of Western Brow round barrow cemetery and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field 690m south of Westmeston Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 January 1967

Last Amended: 8 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27051

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Westmeston

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Ditchling, Streat and Westmeston

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes three bowl barrows situated at the western end of a
linear round barrow cemetery dating to the prehistoric period, which runs from
west to east along a ridge of the Sussex Downs, and four hlaews, or
Anglo-Saxon burial mounds, forming the western half of a barrow field. A
hummocky area along the northern side of the monument represents the remains
of further, partly disturbed barrows. The Anglo-Saxon burial mounds,
constructed many centuries after the round barrow cemetery, cluster around the
larger, earlier bowl barrows.
The three bowl barrows have circular mounds between 8m-10m in diameter, each
surviving to a height of up to c.0.7m. The mounds, which have central hollows
indicating part excavation some time in the past, are surrounded by ditches
from which material used in their construction was excavated. These are no
longer visible, having become infilled over the years, but will survive as
buried features c.2m wide. The easternmost bowl barrow has been partly
disturbed on its southern side by vehicle erosion.
The three easterly Anglo-Saxon hlaews have low, roughly circular mounds c.4m
in diameter. The westernmost, largest hlaew has a roughly west-east aligned,
oval mound measuring c.12m by c.7m, and shows signs of past, part excavation.
Each mound is around 0.3m high and will have a buried quarry ditch c.1m wide.

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.

Bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow and date from the Late
Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Most examples were constructed in the
period 2400-1500 BC. They occur across most of lowland Britain and, although
superficially similar in appearance, exhibit regional variations of form and a
diversity of burial practices.
Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced hlaews, or
burial mounds, dating to the early medieval period. The usually circular
mounds, some of which are surrounded by an encircling ditch, covered one or
more inhumation burials. These were deposited in west-east aligned,
rectangular graves cut into the underlying bedrock. Cremation burials,
sometimes deposited in pottery urns, have also been found. Many burials were
furnished with accompanying grave goods, including jewellery and weapons, and,
at two sites, wooden ships were discovered within large mounds. Most barrow
fields were in use during the pagan Anglo-Saxon period between the sixth and
seventh centuries AD, although barrows dating to the fifth and eighth
centuries AD have also been found. The distribution of barrow fields is
concentrated within south eastern England, particularly in prominent locations
on the Kent and Sussex Downs. However, one Viking barrow field dating to the
late ninth century AD is known in Derbyshire, and the two barrow fields
containing known ship burials are located near river estuaries in Suffolk.
Barrow fields are a rare monument type, with only around 40 examples known
nationally. They provide important and otherwise rare archaeolgical
information about the people who constructed and used them. All positively
identified examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy
of protection.
The part of Western Brow round barrow cemetery and barrow field which is 690m
south of Westmeston Farm survives comparatively well, despite some disturbance
by vehicle erosion and scrub growth, and will contain archaeological remains
and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


RCHME, TQ 31 SW 23, (1934)
source 2, RCHME, TQ 31 SW 23, (1934)

Source: Historic England

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