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Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery, The Coniger enclosure and section of linear boundary earthwork

A Scheduled Monument in Winterbourne Stoke, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.177 / 51°10'37"N

Longitude: -1.8912 / 1°53'28"W

OS Eastings: 407704.185926

OS Northings: 141978.50674

OS Grid: SU077419

Mapcode National: GBR 3YM.2PM

Mapcode Global: VHB59.5PL2

Entry Name: Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery, The Coniger enclosure and section of linear boundary earthwork

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1925

Last Amended: 13 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015019

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28921

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Winterbourne Stoke

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Winterbourne Stoke St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the 14 round barrows of the Winterbourne Stoke West
barrow cemetery, a short section of linear boundary earthwork and The Coniger,
an irregular earthwork enclosure which encloses most of the round barrow
cemetery. All are located on the eastern slope of High Down north of
Winterbourne Stoke, overlooking the valley of the River Till.
The nucleated cemetery includes eight bowl barrows, three disc barrows, two
pond barrows and a saucer barrow, all of which survive as earthworks. Six are
arranged on a north to south alignment with a disc barrow the northernmost, a
pond barrow the southernmost and four bowl barrows in the middle. The saucer
barrow, the second pond barrow and a further bowl barrow are located to the
east of the north-south alignment and all of these barrows are contained
within the earthwork enclosure. Two disc barrows and two bowl barrows,
aligned roughly north west to south east, are located to the east of the
south eastern side of the enclosure. One of the bowl barrows lies partly
within the enclosure and has been cut by it on its north east side and
therefore pre-dates it. It is likely that The Coniger enclosure was
constructed around most of the barrows in order to utilise them as part of a
rabbit warren.
The bowl barrow mounds range from 16m to 28m in diameter and are all
surrounded by ditches up to 2.5m wide from which material was quarried during
their construction. Two of the bowl barrows are oval shaped. One of these is
situated between two bowl barrows in the north-south alignment; its mound
measures 21m by 14m and is surrounded by a quarry ditch 2.5m wide. This barrow
has in the past been recorded as two confluent bowl barrows. The other oval
shaped barrow, which has not been previously recorded, is located to the north
east of the largest bowl barrow and overlies its ditch. The mound is 8.5m by
4.5m with a ditch visible as a slight dip on its south side.
Two of the disc barrows are located outside and to the south east of the
enclosure. The most southerly of them is 50m south east of its eastern ditch.
The northern section of the disc barrow is composed of a low central mound
enclosed by a buried ditch and an external bank 5m wide. The southern section
has been levelled and survives as a buried ditch. A second disc barrow,
located c.40m north west of the former, has a central mound 9.5m in diameter
and 0.7m high. This is surrounded by a platform 6m wide, a ditch 2m wide and
the whole is enclosed by an outer bank 5m wide. The third disc barrow, which
is located within the earthwork enclosure, has a central mound 11m in diameter
and 0.5m high. This is surrounded by a platform 6m wide, a ditch 3m wide and
finally by an outer bank 4m wide. Both pond barrows are located within the
enclosure. The larger of the two is the most southerly barrow of the north
south alignment. The depression of the pond is 8m across and 0.3m deep. It is
surrounded by a bank 0.2m high and 4m wide, giving the barrow an overall
diameter of 16m. The other pond barrow has not been previously recorded as
such although it is represented as a circular hollow on the OS 1:2500 map
(1977). The depression of the pond is 5m across and 0.4m deep, and is
surrounded by a bank 3m wide. The saucer barrow is situated in the centre of
the earthwork enclosure. It has a low central mound 6m across and is
surrounded by a ditch 2m wide and 0.5m deep and by a low outer bank 3m wide.
The monument also includes an earthwork enclosure known as The Coniger, a bank
and ditch which encloses an area of 1.8ha. The ditch is 4m across at its
widest point and up to 0.8m deep. The bank has a maximum width of 5m and a
maximum height of 0.7m. It is likely that the enclosure, as its name suggests,
was constructed around the barrows in order to use them as a rabbit warren.
Also included in the monument is a length of boundary ditch, or hollow way,
which runs from east to west and is located to the east of the enclosure. It
crosses the eastern half of a disc barrow at which point it is no longer
visible on the ground. It is 3m wide and there are traces of a low bank on its
northern side.
Nearly all of the barrows have been partly excavated in the 19th century with
the exception of the saucer barrow, the two pond barrows and a single bowl
barrow. Most have revealed evidence of burial, both cremations and
inhumations, and a variety of grave goods including bronze daggers, pottery
and clay beads. Two of the cremations were wrapped in cloth and a late,
probably Saxon burial with an iron knife had been inserted into a disc barrow.
All fence posts and cattle troughs are excluded from the scheduling, but the
ground beneath these features is included.

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.

The Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery contains well preserved
examples of the majority of identified types of round barrow.
Part excavation of some of the barrows has demonstrated that they contain
archaeological remains providing evidence of Bronze Age burial practices,
economy and environment. The section of linear boundary earthwork, aligned on
the barrow cemetery, demonstrates the importance of such landscape features in
the definition of prehistoric territorial holdings.
At a later date part of the barrow cemetery was incorporated within an
earthwork enclosure. This may reflect the use of the barrows as part of a
warren and may provide evidence relating to the importance of rabbits in a
medieval and post-medieval agricultural economy. These later earthwork
features will also contain archaeological deposits providing evidence of later
prehistoric and historic economy and environmental change.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 271
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114-115
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 113-5
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 113
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 114
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Disc Barrows, , Vol. 40, (1974), 108
1449, Wiltshire County Council AER collection, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500
Source Date: 1977

Source: Historic England

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