Ancient Monuments

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King's Barrow on King Tor, Hookney Down

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6184 / 50°37'6"N

Longitude: -3.8259 / 3°49'33"W

OS Eastings: 270922.721601

OS Northings: 81440.115503

OS Grid: SX709814

Mapcode National: GBR QD.8DWN

Mapcode Global: FRA 27WF.M95

Entry Name: King's Barrow on King Tor, Hookney Down

Scheduled Date: 5 June 1972

Last Amended: 11 December 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020012

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34421

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a round cairn known as King's Barrow situated on the
summit of King Tor on Hookney Down, with extensive views in all directions.
The cairn survives as a 21m diameter mound standing up to 2.3m high. A pit in
the centre of the cairn is the result of a partial excavation in 1872 by Rev'd
R Kirwan. This work revealed no artefacts and the spoil from the excavation
was cast up around the upper edge of the cairn giving it an impressive
appearance. A 4m wide and 0.15m deep ditch is visible around the southern side
of the cairn and survives elsewhere as a buried feature. This ditch represents
a quarry from which material was excavated during the construction of the

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

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and,
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most
complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The
great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence
for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards.
The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites,
major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as
later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes
in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary
monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain
where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may
cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer
ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in
the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one
of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-
western Britain.

Despite partial excavation, King's Barrow round cairn survives well and
contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument
and its environs during the prehistoric period. This cairn is one of a cluster
of large cairns situated in prominent positions within this part of Dartmoor.
It is considered that as a group they formed significant territorial markers.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW21, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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