Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Enclosure and bowl barrow on Charnage Down, north west of Chaddenwick Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Mere, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.108 / 51°6'28"N

Longitude: -2.2263 / 2°13'34"W

OS Eastings: 384249.589244

OS Northings: 134323.013459

OS Grid: ST842343

Mapcode National: GBR 1W9.FXY

Mapcode Global: VH981.CDCZ

Entry Name: Enclosure and bowl barrow on Charnage Down, north west of Chaddenwick Hill

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1955

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017699

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26869

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Mere

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Mere St Michael the Archangel

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a rectangular enclosure, the earthwork bank of which
incorporates a bowl barrow, lying on the top of a hill on Charnage Down, north
west of Chaddenwick Hill.
The enclosure is formed by a bank and external ditch. The bank is extant,
surviving up to 8m wide and 0.3m high on all sides except for a 30m length
on its eastern side where it has been levelled. It measures a maximum of 55m
by 48m (north west-south east) internally and encloses an area of about 0.4ha.
The external ditch is not visible on the surface but will survive as a buried
feature 4m wide. An entrance on the northern side has previously been recorded
but cannot be confirmed on the ground. In the early 20th century objects of
Roman date found on Mere Down were said to have been asociated with the
The barrow, incorporated in the bank on the south eastern corner of the
enclosure, has an irregular mound, 14m in diameter and 1m high. Surrounding
the mound is a quarry ditch from which material for its construction was
excavated. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried
feature 2m wide.
In the early 19th century the antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare noted
irregularities containing pottery adjacent to the northern side of the
enclosure. The location of this area of possible settlement cannot be
The enclosure lies within a field system, now levelled by cultivation and
visible only on aerial photographs. The field system is not included in the
All fence posts and 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.
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

The bowl barrow incorporated in the earthworks of the enclosure on Charnage
Down survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological remains
providing evidence of Bronze Age ritual, environment and economy.
Enclosures provide evidence of land use, agricultural practices and habitation
from the prehistoric period onwards. They were constructed as stock pens, as
protected areas for crop growing or for settlement, and their size and form
may vary considerably according to their function. Their variation in form,
longevity and their relationship to other monument clases, including field
systems and linear boundary earthworks, provide information on the diversity
of social organisation and farming practices throughout the period of their
Enclosures are central to understanding the development of the rural landscape
and as such all well preserved examples are considered worthy of protection.
Despite some damage to parts of its earthwork circuit, the enclosure on
Charnage Down survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological
remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape
in which it was constructed. The incorporation of an earlier bowl barrow
provides important evidence of the continuing veneration of obsolete funerary
monuments in times of later and more intensive land use.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 44
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 267

Source: Historic England

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