Ancient Monuments

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Disc barrow 500m south of Common Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Kempsey, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.1311 / 52°7'51"N

Longitude: -2.1914 / 2°11'29"W

OS Eastings: 386994.339779

OS Northings: 248105.944485

OS Grid: SO869481

Mapcode National: GBR 1GY.BRZ

Mapcode Global: VH930.YPVN

Entry Name: Disc barrow 500m south of Common Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015320

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27519

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Kempsey

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: The baptist

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a disc barrow,
situated on Kempsey Common, on a ridge of high ground overlooking the
floodplain of the River Severn. The barrow is one of three on the common, the
other two being c.100m NNE and c.150m north east, and the subjects of separate

The remains of this barrow include a circular area of c.22m diameter, defined
by a shallow ditch. This ditch is now greatly infilled but is visible as a
slight depression c.2m wide containing darker grass than the surrounding area.
Vestiges of a low earthen bank are visible in places outside the ditch. The
barrow is divided exactly in half by a field boundary, the western half now
lying in a pasture field. A line of young trees follows the edge of the ditch
which is just visible as an earthwork feature.

The enclosed area will originally have contained one or more low earthen
mounds, which have been removed or modified by tree planting. The remains of
several large tree stumps are visible in the enclosed area, and also within
the neighbouring barrows. These sites appear as wooded areas on early 20th
century Ordnance Survey maps, and may have been planted in the mid-19th
century to provide a backdrop to Pirton Pool when viewed from Pirton Court
some 1.5km to the south east. The larger of the neighbouring barrows contains
the foundations of a World War II observation post, and the trees were
probably felled at this time to allow the look-out uninterrupted views. The
barrow's prominent position on high ground is typical of Bronze Age burial
monuments, and the site's clear views and high visibility has led to its reuse
for ornamental purposes in the post-medieval period.

The monument is easily accessible to visitors to the common. A Roman road, now
partly overlain by the M5, passes north-south to the west of the barrows.

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

Disc barrows, the most fragile type of round barrow, are funerary monuments of
the Early Bronze Age, with most examples dating to the period 1400-1200 BC.
They occur either in isolation or in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups
of round barrows). Disc barrows were constructed as a circular or oval area of
level ground defined by a bank and internal ditch and containing one or more
centrally or eccentrically located small, low mounds covering burials, usually
in pits. The burials, normally cremations, are frequently accompanied by
pottery vessels, tools and personal ornaments. It has been suggested that disc
barrows were normally used for the burial of women, although this remains
unproven. However, it is likely that the individuals buried were of high
status. Disc barrows are rare nationally, with about 250 known examples, most
of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides
important evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst prehistoric
communities over a wide area of southern England as well as providing an
insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a particularly rare and
fragile form of round barrow, all identified disc barrows would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

The barrow on Kempsey Common is a good example of a class of monument which is
rare in this part of the country. Evidence for the burial or burials within
the enclosed area will be preserved below ground, and may include grave goods
as well as human remains. The fills of the ditch will preserve evidence for
the activities which took place at and around the barrow during and subsequent
to its use as a burial monument. Areas of the old ground surface sealed
beneath the remains of the bank will retain environmental evidence for land
use immediately prior to the barrow's construction. All these elements can
increase our understanding of the technology and beliefs of the barrow
builders. The close association of the neighbouring barrows increases interest
in the individual monuments, and contributes to our knowledge of the Bronze
Age demography of the county. In its prominent position on high ground above
the Severn floodplain the monument commands impressive views across the
surrounding area. It is easily seen by visitors to the common.

Source: Historic England


Went, Dave, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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