Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Leather Barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Luxborough, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1102 / 51°6'36"N

Longitude: -3.4455 / 3°26'43"W

OS Eastings: 298905.8148

OS Northings: 135533.60207

OS Grid: SS989355

Mapcode National: GBR LK.BBYB

Mapcode Global: VH6H0.7CC9

Entry Name: Leather Barrow

Scheduled Date: 12 November 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021158

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35706

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Luxborough

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a bowl barrow, known as Leather Barrow, which is
located on Withiel Hill on the western side of the Brendon Hills, a broad
ridge which dominates the eastern region of Exmoor. The barrow is formed
by an earth and stone mound 3.3m in height with a diameter of 23m. In
keeping with other bowl barrows in the region, the mound is surrounded by
a ditch from which material was quarried for the construction of the mound
and, although it is no longer visible at ground level, the ditch will
survive as a buried feature up to 2.5m wide.
The origin of the barrow's name is not clear although it is recorded on
the Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1-inch map of 1809 as Leather Barrow, it
may have been known as Withel Barrow prior to that date according to an
earlier source. It is situated at the junction of three boundary banks
which form the remains of a field system of possible post-medieval date
and may have been used as a point of alignment during the construction of
the banks. The boundary which extends southwards from the junction forms
part of the Luxborough and Treborough parish boundary.
All fencing and fence posts are included in 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

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and
Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little
excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal
Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a
comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human
exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day.
Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later
prehistoric period. Examples include stone settings, stone alignments,
standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows'). Bowl barrows, the most
numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late
Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to
the period 2400-1500BC. 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. Over 370 bowl barrows, varying in diameter
from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are found on
or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor
- the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge -
whilst individual barrows and groups may also be found on lower lying
ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form 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

Despite the surface of the mound having been disturbed by animal activity,
Leather Barrow survives well and will contain archaeological deposits and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed. Additionally, it is one of a number of round barrows
which occupy prominent positions on or near a well-defined course along
the Brendon Hills, sometimes referred to as the Brendon Hills Ridge.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 35
SS 93 NE 8, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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