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Part of Western Brow round barrow cemetery and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field 700m south of Westmeston Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Westmeston, East Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8993 / 50°53'57"N

Longitude: -0.0966 / 0°5'47"W

OS Eastings: 533943.923051

OS Northings: 112812.095494

OS Grid: TQ339128

Mapcode National: GBR KPK.DDY

Mapcode Global: FRA B6PQ.N5N

Entry Name: Part of Western Brow round barrow cemetery and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field 700m south of Westmeston Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 January 1967

Last Amended: 8 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014634

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27052

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

Details

The monument includes two bowl barrows situated near 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 eight hlaews, or
Anglo-Saxon burial mounds, forming the eastern half of a barrow field. A
hummocky area towards the south western edge 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 largest bowl barrow, situated towards the north western corner of the
monument, has a circular mound c.14m in diameter, surviving to a height of
c.0.4m. This has a large central hollow, indicating that the barrow has been
the subject of part excavation some time in the past. The mound is surrounded
by a ditch from which material used to construct the barrow was excavated.
This has become infilled over the years, but survives as a buried feature c.2m
wide. Towards the southern edge of the monument, the second bowl barrow has a
circular mound c.10m wide and c.0.5m high, its profile partly disturbed by a
track on its northern side. The mound is surrounded by a buried quarry ditch
c.2m wide.
The eight identifiable hlaews lie on the eastern side of the monument and have
low, roughly circular mounds between 4m and 7m in diameter and c.0.3m high,
each surrounded by a buried quarry ditch c.1m wide.

MAP EXTRACT
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 earthen ditch, were constructed
over 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 archaeological
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 lies
700m south of Westmeston Farm survives comparatively well and will contain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

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

Source: Historic England

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