Ancient Monuments

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Henge, henge type monument and bowl barrow 500m south-east of Dairy Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Renhold, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.1446 / 52°8'40"N

Longitude: -0.3725 / 0°22'20"W

OS Eastings: 511466.458366

OS Northings: 250841.214156

OS Grid: TL114508

Mapcode National: GBR H3F.GNG

Mapcode Global: VHFQ9.HCG8

Entry Name: Henge, henge type monument and bowl barrow 500m south-east of Dairy Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 July 1997

Last Amended: 23 January 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015587

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27182

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Renhold

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Renhold

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the buried remains of a henge, a henge type monument and a bowl barrow located in an arable field on the north side of the Gadsey Brook, at Dairy Farm, Willington.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the buried remains of a henge, a henge type monument and a bowl barrow located in an arable field on the north side of the Gadsey Brook, a tributary of the River Great Ouse which flows into the main river 400m to the east. The henge is situated approximately 270m to the north of the brook, the henge type monument about 24m to the east of that, and the barrow about 24m north of the henge.

All three features have been reduced by ploughing and are not visible at ground level. However, both the henge and the barrow produce distinctive cropmarks which have been recorded by aerial photography on numerous occasions since 1970, while all three features have been clearly identified by geophysical survey undertaken in 2004. The location of the henge type monument was also confirmed by trial trenching in 2005.

The henge is defined by an outer circular ditch, about 37m in diameter and an inner ditch of about 22m in diameter. The outer ditch is truncated by a pipe trench on its east side which also cuts through the barrow to the north. The barrow is also defined by its surrounding ditch which would have measured about 18m in diameter; a slight concentration of gravel marks the burial mound. To the east of the pipe trench the henge type monument is about 32m in diameter, and appears as a single circular ditch measuring about 3.7m wide and 1.25m deep.

The aerial record demonstrates that these features form part of a small group of further buried prehistoric features (the subject of separate schedulings 1015586, 1015589 & 1015590), the presence of which have also been confirmed by geophysical survey.

Extent of Scheduling

The scheduling is intended to provide protection for the maximum known extent of the henge, henge type monument and barrow. The area between these features is also included in the scheduling in order to protect any associated buried remains, particularly flat burials. Each feature has been accurately located and its extent defined by geophysical survey. The scheduling line has been drawn 10m from the outer edge of the group to provide a buffer zone for the continued support and preservation of the prehistoric features and the areas between them. The scheduled area therefore forms a rounded L shape or irregular rounded heart shape, the indent to the north-east. The area measures at its maximum 115m from north to south and 120m from west to east.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Survival: Despite being reduced by ploughing, the henge and henge type monument located to the south east of Dairy Farm will retain significant archaeological information including buried deposits illustrating the nature of prehistoric ritual activity, artefactual evidence indicating the date of construction and the duration of use, as well as highly valuable environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set.

Period: Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. The considerable variation in form and the longevity of the monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst prehistoric communities.

Potential: In addition to the monuments themselves, the area between the henge, henge type monument and the barrow is of particular archaeological interest, excavations at comparable sites have demonstrated the likelihood of further burials in such locations. The monument is part of a widespread distribution of similar features which follow the gravel terraces of the River Great Ouse, the recent mapping of which has greatly enhanced our understanding of the nature of the prehistoric landscape.

Diversity: These three features form part of a particularly important group which include nearby scheduled barrows and henge type monuments (1015586, 1015589 & 1015590) and the larger mortuary complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age scheduled monuments further to the west at Goldington (1011629, 1008510, 1009777, 1007322, 1007324, 1007326, 1007327, 1007329 & 1007331) and separated from this group by an existing gravel quarry. The study of these sites will contribute valuable information regarding the continuity of land use, the evolution of prehistoric funerary practices and the distribution of settlement in the area.

Documentation: The monuments have been subject to non-invasive archaeological intervention which has confirmed their importance. This includes mapping of aerial photographic evidence and geophysical survey.

Source: Historic England

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