Ancient Monuments

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Round barrow cemetery and parts of a field system 500m west of Whitmore House

A Scheduled Monument in Baschurch, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.7914 / 52°47'28"N

Longitude: -2.8689 / 2°52'7"W

OS Eastings: 341503.7141

OS Northings: 321888.3602

OS Grid: SJ415218

Mapcode National: GBR 7B.XCLP

Mapcode Global: WH8BC.X31D

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery and parts of a field system 500m west of Whitmore House

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016824

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32297

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Baschurch

Built-Up Area: Baschurch

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Baschurch All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes the buried remains of a dispersed Bronze Age barrow
cemetery consisting of eight bowl barrows within three areas of protection, on
level and undulating ground to the north of the River Perry. From this
location there are extensive views of the surrounding countryside especially
to the south.

The mounds, which were constructed over the burials, have been reduced in
height by ploughing. The circular quarry ditches that surrounded the mounds
have, however, been recorded from aerial photographs taken on numerous
occasions since 1979.

The largest barrow is also the most elaborate. It is defined by a circular
ditch about 3m wide enclosing an area approximately 18m across. A concentric
ditch, about 2m wide, lies within this area and encloses an area approximately
4m in diameter. This inner ditch defines the central burial chamber. All the
other barrows are of a similar size. Each one has a ditch approximately 2m
wide enclosing an area 10m-12m across.

Aerial photographs show that the barrows were associated with a series of
linear ditches, some of which are arranged in a regular manner and would have
defined blocks of land. These are considered to be the traces of ancient field
boundaries, some of which appear to be contemporary with, or later than, the
barrow cemetery. Those parts of the field system which lie within 20m of the
barrows are included in the scheduling in order to preserve the relationship
between them and the barrow cemetery.

The modern field boundary is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it 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

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a
considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as
a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit
considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including
several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier
long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them,
contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been
revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a
marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other
important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst
their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

Despite being truncated by ploughing, the round barrow cemetery 500m west of
Whitmore House survives reasonably well. The accumulated ditch fills in
particular will contain artefactual and environmental evidence for the
activities which took place at the site during the construction of the
barrows, and their subsequent use.

Where burials survive, these remains will contribute significantly to our
understanding of ritual practices and the social organisation of these people.
The juxtaposition of the field system and the barrows will help to define when
the agricultural landscape was established here, and to what degree the
organisation of this landscape changed during prehistory. The accumulated
fills of the field boundary ditches will also preserve environmental remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Leah, M , The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire, (1998), 53-4

Source: Historic England

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