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Roman barrow 700m WNW of Clavering Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Langley, Essex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9922 / 51°59'32"N

Longitude: 0.1191 / 0°7'8"E

OS Eastings: 545597.536996

OS Northings: 234763.871452

OS Grid: TL455347

Mapcode National: GBR LB0.0XV

Mapcode Global: VHHL8.06V2

Entry Name: Roman barrow 700m WNW of Clavering Farm

Scheduled Date: 19 October 1973

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018454

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29422

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Langley

Built-Up Area: Langley

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Details

The monument includes a Roman barrow located 700m WNW of Clavering Farm, on
the western side of Beard's Lane - a footpath and trackway which is thought to
perpetuate the line of a road between the Roman settlements at Great
Chesterford and Braughing.

The barrow is circular in plan and measures approximately 50m in diameter.
Over the years the mound has been reduced by ploughing, yet it still rises to
a domed profile of about 1m in height, and it clearly served as a more
prominent local landmark in the past. The 1829 tithe map depicts the barrow
under the name `Rumbery Hill', and the historic boundary separating the
parishes of Langley (to the south) and Elmdon (to the north) is still drawn
across the middle of the mound.

The Hon R C Neville (later Lord Braybrooke of Audley End) directed limited
excavations on the mound in the mid-19th century. He found that the barrow had
been disturbed in antiquity, but was nevertheless able to recover evidence of
a Roman origin. Fragments of glass, pottery and brick - which Neville termed
`the remnants of the sepulchral deposit' - were found near the centre of the
mound.

In the absence of evidence for a surrounding ditch, it is thought that the
mound was constructed using material gathered from its surroundings or
quarried elsewhere.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Earthen barrows are the most visually spectacular survivals of a wide variety
of funerary monuments in Britain dating to the Roman period. Constructed as
steep-sided conical mounds, usually of considerable size and occasionally with
an encircling bank or ditch, they covered one or more burials, generally
believed to be those of high-ranking individuals. The burials were mainly
cremations, although inhumations have been recorded, and were often deposited
with accompanying grave goods in chambers or cists constructed of wood, tile
or stone sealed beneath the barrow mound. Occasionally the mound appears to
have been built directly over a funeral pyre. The barrows usually occur
singly, although they can be grouped into "cemeteries" of up to ten examples.
They are sited in a variety of locations but often occur near Roman roads. A
small number of barrows were of particularly elaborate construction, with
masonry revetment walls or radial internal walls. Roman barrows are rare
nationally, with less than 150 recorded examples, and are generally restricted
to lowland England with the majority in East Anglia. The earliest examples
date to the first decades of the Roman occupation and occur mainly within this
East Anglian concentration. It has been suggested that they are the graves of
native British aristocrats who chose to perpetuate aspects of Iron Age burial
practice. The majority of the barrows were constructed in the early second
century AD but by the end of that century the fashion for barrow building
appears to have ended. Occasionally the barrows were re-used when secondary
Anglo-Saxon burials were dug into the mound. Many barrows were subjected to
cursory investigation by antiquarians in the 19th century and, as little
investigation to modern standards has taken place, they remain generally
poorly understood. As a rare monument type which exhibits a wide diversity of
burial tradition all Roman barrows, unless significantly damaged, are
identified as nationally important.

Despite the fact that the Roman barrow 700m WNW of Clavering Farm has been
disturbed by excavation and denuded by prolonged cultivation, the monument
survives in a visible form and will still contain valuable evidence relating
to its construction and use. Neville's small scale excavation provided some
clues to its origins, and demonstrated the presence of cultural material -
albeit in a disturbed condition. Modern archaeological techniques, however,
can be used to examine this disturbed evidence and are capable of revealing
far more about the date at which the barrow was built, the nature of the
funeral rituals employed within and the appearance of the surrounding
landscape at the time.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fox, C, Archaeology of the Cambridge Region, (1923), 196
'Antiquity' in Antiquity, , Vol. 10, (1936), 37
Neville, R C, 'Trans Essex Arch Soc' in Notes on Roman Essex, , Vol. Vol 1, (1858), 194
Other
Compilation of info regarding 'road', 3890 Beard's Lane Roman Road,
Description of 1829 Tithe Map, 123 Elmdon Tumulus, (1984)
oblique monochrome, CUCAP, ARH 48-49, ARI 10-13, (1967)
oblique monochrome, CUCAP, ARI 10-13, (1969)
Title: TL 4534-4634
Source Date: 1974
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
1:2500

Source: Historic England

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