Ancient Monuments

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A henge, two barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and part of a linear feature 420m north west of Lower Hampson

A Scheduled Monument in Bow, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7996 / 50°47'58"N

Longitude: -3.8346 / 3°50'4"W

OS Eastings: 270808.044919

OS Northings: 101607.237245

OS Grid: SS708016

Mapcode National: GBR L1.YVS6

Mapcode Global: FRA 26VZ.HWN

Entry Name: A henge, two barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and part of a linear feature 420m north west of Lower Hampson

Scheduled Date: 19 August 1986

Last Amended: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015472

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28633

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bow

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bow (or Nymet Tracey) with Broad Nymet

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a henge, two bowl barrows, two ring ditches, two
enclosures and part of a linear feature. They are situated on a hilltop
overlooking the valleys of the River Yeo to the east and the Venn Lake to the
north. They form part of a complex of ritual and funerary monuments located
around the village of Bow. They also lie within an area of Devon which has
concentrations of the placename `Nymett', thought to have some Celtic sacred
The henge itself is oval in shape and measures 60m long by 50m wide across
the outer edges of the ditch and encloses an area of 45m by 40m. Traces of an
outer bank have also been recorded on the aerial photograph taken in September
1984 although dimensions for these were unclear. The typology of the features
present at the henge have enabled its identification as a Class II henge. The
henge is seen to have two opposing entrances, one on each of the eastern and
western sides, although the one to the east is considerably narrower owing to
the presence of a terminal pit at the eastern end of the northern ditch. The
orientation of the entrances lies just WSW to ENE of a true east to west line.
Within the henge an irregular ovoid of approximately 19 pits were identified
from the aerial photographs, which seem to enclose an area of 30m from east to
west and 17m from north to south. The presence of a flattened platform up to
0.2m high is visible on the ground to confirm its location. Fieldwalking in
the area of the henge has produced 826 flint and chert pieces with a high
ratio of arrowheads and scrapers, indicative of a Late Neolithic date.
To the east of the henge is a linear feature running from north to south.
The function and date of this feature are unclear, although it clearly curves
around the bank of the henge. The ditch associated with this feature shows up
clearly on aerial photographs of the area and on the ground a slight bank
measuring up to 1.5m wide and 0.2m to 0.3m high is visible continuing to a
length of some 460m.
Further to the east and slightly north of the henge are two distinct
overlapping enclosures. The larger of the two is roughly rectangular in shape
and measures 85m long from east to west and 73m wide from north to south. The
second enclosure is also sub-rectangular in shape, and measures 43m long from
north to south by 33m wide from east to west. Both enclosures have entrances
on the eastern side. The exact date and chronological progression of these
enclosures is unclear.
In the area between the henge and the enclosures, aerial photographs
indicate a series of pits, ditches and other features which are difficult to
rationalise into distinct features but which clearly indicate a concentration
of archaeological activity.
To the south west of the henge lie a group of two bowl barrows and two
ring ditches. The westernmost barrow has a slight circular mound with a
diameter of 10m and is 0.2m high. The surrounding quarry ditch is preserved
as a buried feature. The largest has a slight circular mound with a diameter
of 20m and is up to 0.3m high and is also surrounded by a buried ditch. The
ring ditches, which lie east of the barrows, survive as buried features with a
diameter of 10m and are visible only on aerial photographs.
This monument is part of a larger concentration of funerary and ritual
monuments located around the present day settlement of Bow and many of these
are the subject of separate schedulings.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic
period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval-
shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a
ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the
interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features
including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or
central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide
important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types
of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in
which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the
exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally
situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are
rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of
identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all
henges are considered to be of national importance.

This henge forms the focal point of a large number of related monuments
including ring ditches, barrows, enclosures and linear ditches. Whilst many of
these monuments are the subject of separate schedulings, this monument
includes two barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and a linear ditch.
Ring ditches are the truncated remains of round barrows which are funerary
monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with
most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
ditched earthen or rubble mounds, which covered single or multiple burials.
They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a
focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although
differing widely in size they exhibit regional variations in form and a
diversity of burial practices. Their considerable variation in form and
longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity
of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities.
The enclosures by contrast are less well understood. It is not known
whether they were for domestic habitation or served some form of ritual
function. Their close association and central position within this ritual
landscape however means that they are an integral part of it and will contain
information concerning their own character and date as well as providing data
on the evolution and nature of this important area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Griffith, F, Devon's Past: An Aerial View, (1988), 25
Griffith, F M, 'Prehistoric Society Proceedings' in Some Newly Discovered Ritual Monuments in Mid Devon, , Vol. 51, (1985), 310-14
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW68, (1991)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW70, (1991)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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