Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Three barrows including Great Halwill Barrow north of Halwill Junction

A Scheduled Monument in Halwill, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7813 / 50°46'52"N

Longitude: -4.2072 / 4°12'25"W

OS Eastings: 244492.39226

OS Northings: 100292.808477

OS Grid: SS444002

Mapcode National: GBR NS.054Y

Mapcode Global: FRA 2720.W6Y

Entry Name: Three barrows including Great Halwill Barrow north of Halwill Junction

Scheduled Date: 28 March 1958

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016220

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28643

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Halwill

Built-Up Area: Halwill Junction

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Beaworthy St Alban

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into three areas of protection, includes three bowl
barrows located on a high ridge which forms the watershed between the
tributaries of the River Carey to the west, and those of the River Torridge to
the east. Most spurs along the ridges in this area are rich in barrows, which
indicates that the area was the focus of ritual activity in the past. The
three barrows are aligned WSW-ENE.

The westernmost barrow, which is known as Great Halwill Barrow, survives as a
circular mound measuring 24m in diameter and 3m high. The mound itself lies
immediately adjacent to a disused railway cutting which has partly cut its
western and southwestern sides. The barrow was partly excavated by Worth in
the 1890s and this work revealed several layers of burnt clay, some fragments
of calcined animal bone, Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age pottery, charcoal
and an amber pendant.

The central barrow of the three lies ENE of the first and survives as a 37m
diameter circular mound standing up to 0.65m high.

The third barrow lies to the east and survives as a 33m diameter circular
mound standing up to 1.65m high. A substantial field boundary bank crosses the
mound from north to south on its eastern side and the ditch associated with
this boundary has partly cut into the mound.

Surrounding all three mounds, though now cut away on the western side of the
westernmost mound, were ditches from which material was quarried during their
construction. These have become infilled over the years but now survive as
buried features 2m wide.

All fences and fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath 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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, 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. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

Despite limited damage as a result of modern activities, the three barrows
north of Halwill Junction survive comparatively well and are known, from part
excavation of one of the mounds, to contain archaeological and environmental
information relating to the monument and its surrounding landscape. These
barrows form part of a wider distribution which includes several other barrows
situated within this part of Devon.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS40SW10, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS40SW11, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS40SW5, (1982)

Source: Historic England

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