Ancient Monuments

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Round barrow cemetery 100m south of School Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Otterford, Somerset

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Latitude: 50.9236 / 50°55'24"N

Longitude: -3.0969 / 3°5'49"W

OS Eastings: 322995.531544

OS Northings: 114364.621363

OS Grid: ST229143

Mapcode National: GBR M1.Q377

Mapcode Global: FRA 46DN.P9G

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery 100m south of School Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1946

Last Amended: 24 August 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017055

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32164

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Otterford

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes five round barrows, together forming a linear round
barrow cemetery on Brown Down in the eastern region of the Blackdown Hills.
The cemetery forms part of a larger group of round barrows situated on Brown
Down, collectively known as Robin Hood's Butts. The five round barrows,
following a north to south alignment, include four bowl-shaped barrows and a
bell barrow located at the south end of the linear cemetery. The mounds of the
bowl barrows have an average diameter of 20m and an average height of 2.2m.
The mound of the bell barrow is 28m in diameter, 2.5m high and is surrounded
by a level berm up to 10m wide. The barrows are partly enclosed by a single
continuous ditch, possibly contemporary, up to 1m deep on the south side of
the bell barrow. The remainder of the ditch has become largely infilled,
surviving as a shallow depression, between 2m and 4m wide.
All fence posts together with a concrete overlow pipe, located on the north
west of the site, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features is included.

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

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.

The linear round barrow cemetery known as Robin Hood's Butts survives well and
is a rare example of its class, displaying unusual features in its
construction. It forms part of a larger group of round barrows on Brown Down
and will contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating
to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 37

Source: Historic England

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