Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Four bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Kimberley, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.6073 / 52°36'26"N

Longitude: 1.0724 / 1°4'20"E

OS Eastings: 608128.579373

OS Northings: 305495.647543

OS Grid: TG081054

Mapcode National: GBR TF0.FY8

Mapcode Global: WHLSD.FQWH

Entry Name: Four bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020854

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30620

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Kimberley

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Kimberley St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes four bowl barrows, spaced at roughly equal distances
on a north east-south west alignment, in Forehoe Wood.

The barrows are visible as earthen mounds, three of which retain their
original circular form. The first of them, at the north east end of the
alignment, stands to a height of about 1m and is flat topped, with a diameter
of approximately 23m; the second, about 26m to the south west is approximately
2m high and 20m in diameter; the third, about 30m from the second, is
approximately 1m high, with a maximum diameter north-south of around 21m,
although about a third of the mound on the western side has been cut away
by a later quarry pit. The fourth barrow at the south western end of the
alignment, which would have been about 23m from the original western side of
the third barrow, is approximately 1.5m high and 17m in diameter.

In the medieval period the four barrows (howes) were the moot or meeting place
of the court of Forehoe Hundred, which took its name from them. The flattened
top of the north easternmost barrow may have been a deliberate modification of
the original mound for this purpose.

All modern fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

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

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 four bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood survive well, despite removal of part
of one of the mounds by later quarrying. Archaeological information
concerning their construction, the manner and duration of their use, the
relationship between the barrows, and also the local environment in the
past, will be contained in the barrow mounds and in the buried soils
preserved beneath them. The importance of the individual barrows is
enhanced by their survival as a group and by their later use as a moot.

Moots were open air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other
bodies responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside
in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient,
conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under
jurisdiction. The meeting place could take several forms, including natural
features such as hilltops, trees or rocks, or man made features. The use of
barrows for the purpose was not uncommon. Moots appear to have been first
established during the early medieval period, between the seventh and ninth
centuries AD. Initially they were situated in open countryside but, over time,
they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural
moots declined after the 13th century. They are a comparatively rare and
long-lived type of monument, and the earliest examples will be amongst a very
small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental
earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, (1805), 374
NMR No. TG00NE3; field investigator's comment, (1973)

Source: Historic England

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