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Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Ockendon, Thurrock

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Latitude: 51.5264 / 51°31'35"N

Longitude: 0.3096 / 0°18'34"E

OS Eastings: 560310.946357

OS Northings: 183363.496806

OS Grid: TQ603833

Mapcode National: GBR XV.JQQ

Mapcode Global: VHHNH.BW0Q

Entry Name: Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall

Scheduled Date: 27 November 1962

Last Amended: 7 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019106

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32426

County: Thurrock

Electoral Ward/Division: Ockendon

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Mardyke

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a Roman burial mound, or barrow, located some 260m north
east of South Ockendon Hall, on a terrace of fairly high ground on the western
slope of the Mar Dyke river valley. It originally stood as one of three such
barrows sited along the valley side at intervals of about 500m apart. The
other two barrows have long since been destroyed, although one was excavated
prior to destruction and found to date to the late second century AD.
The mound is oval in plan with a rounded profile rising to a flat summit at a
height of about 5m. It has a maximum diameter of 50m at the base where it is
surrounded by a largely buried ditch, visible as a slight depression measuring
up to 10m in width. A single trench excavated across the ditch and into the
edge of the mound in 1957 yielded 17 sherds of Roman pottery, indicating that
this barrow was also constructed in the second century. The interior of the
mound, including the central burial, was not disturbed.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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.

The Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall is extremely well
preserved, remarkably so in a region which contains very few upstanding
barrows from either the Roman or earlier prehistoric periods. Apart from the
small area excavated in the 1950s (which served to demonstrate the date of the
monument) the structure of the barrow remains largely intact. The principal
burial and other subsequent interments (a common feature of barrows of this
kind) are expected to remain undisturbed within the mound. It will provide
valuable evidence for the nature of the funeral rituals employed, the status
of the individual for whom the barrow was originally constructed and the
duration of its use as a funerary monument. The mound will retain evidence for
the manner of its construction and may overlie indications of preceding
activity. The original ground surface sealed beneath the mound, together with
the silts buried within the surrounding ditch, may also contain environmental
evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape at the time of the
barrow's construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1923), 143
Barton, K J, 'The Thurrock Historical Society Journal' in A Romano-British Burial Mound Known As The Mount, At S Ockendon, , Vol. 6, (1961), 54-57
Colour prints; frames 1 to 14, Tyler, S, MPP Film 14, (1999)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TQ 68 SW 02, (1957)

Source: Historic England

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