Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Watty Bell's round cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Rochester, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.311 / 55°18'39"N

Longitude: -2.1716 / 2°10'17"W

OS Eastings: 389206.067606

OS Northings: 601889.670972

OS Grid: NT892018

Mapcode National: GBR F780.NZ

Mapcode Global: WHB0L.MR3X

Entry Name: Watty Bell's round cairn

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015839

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28545

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Rochester

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a round cairn of Bronze Age date situated on the highest
part of a hill commanding extensive views to the north, east and west. The
flat topped cairn is composed of stone and earth and measures 10m in diameter.
It stands to a maximum height of 1.5m. The upper surface of the cairn has been
used as a quarry for stone.

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 cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or
multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined
compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch.
Often occupying prominent locations, cairns are a major visual element in the
modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are
the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of
their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Watty Bell's cairn is reasonably well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the
fact that it is one of a larger group of cairns in the area; taken together
they will add to our understanding of prehistoric ritual and funerary

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Charlton, B, Fifty centuries of Peace and War, (1996), 29& 24

Source: Historic England

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