MDE1037 - Trentishoe Barrows on Trentishoe Down (Monument)


Three Bronze Age barrows on the summit Trentishoe Common, varying in size from 9.3 metres to 18 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres to 0.8 metres high. The western two barrows are Scheduled; the eastern is not.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 6295 4776 'A'; SS 6294 4769 - 'B') Trentishoe Barrows (NR). [1] Only one of these barrows now remains (A, SS 6296 4776) and that is in a very mutilated condition. It consists of a stony mound 3 feet high with a diameter of approximately 42 feet. Its centre has been opened leaving a hollow 23 feet diameter which contains a cist the remains of which are approximately 7 feet long and 2 feet 6 inches wide. An arc of stony material in a mound 1 foot high and approximately 19 feet radius lying about 14 feet east of the tumulus is probably spoil from the excavation. Visited 19th June 1952. The site of tumulus 'B' (SS 6295 4770) is apparent by a scatter of stones of no definable diameter and having no elevation above the surrounding down. Visited 19th June 1952. [2] SS 6296 4778 Trentishoe No 1. A heath covered mutilated cairn with a large hollow in centre. Diameter 18 paces, height 4 feet. Visited by Whybrow and Grinsell 20 May 1961. SS 6295 4771 Trentishoe No 2. A truncated heath covered bowl barrow. Diameter 20 paces, height 1 foot Visited 20 May 1961. SS 6319 4769 Trentishoe 3. A small (undisturbed?) heath covered cairn, diameter 9 paces, height 1 foot. Found by Whybrow and Grinsell on 20 May 1961. [3] 'A' An oval barrow, 14 metres by 12 metres and 0.9 metre high. The central mutilation is 0.8 metre deep but the cist is no longer visible. Poor condition. 'B' 15.5 metres diameter and 0.4 metre high with a central depression. Very poor condition. 'C' Grinsell's siting falls within a patch of furze and the cairn could not be located. [4] The western two barrows (A and B) were Scheduled; the eastern (C) was not. Devon 608. [5] [A] Modern cairn growing on the north side of the site but otherwise there is no change. [B] No Change. Cairn [C] located as described by Grinsell. [6] Barrow group on Trentishoe Common. The remains of two summit barrows at SS 6296 4776 and SS 6295 4770; a third barrow lies to the east below the summit at SS 6312 4775. Barrow A is centred at SS 6296 4776. It consists of a circular mound averaging 11.2 metres in diameter and standing to 0.8 metres in height. The mound is of earth and stone and seems compact and well-formed. A rectangular pit, 5.3 metres long and 2.8 metres wide, has been dug into its centre. The west side of the pit has been cut back giving it a triangular appearance, and increasing its width to 4.1 metres. A low heather-covered bank 2.3 metes wide and 0.3 metres high, running north to south on the eastern side of the cairn, is probably the spoil from this excavation. On the northwestern corner of the barrow itself is a small modern cairn. Vegetation: mainly heather, with some bracken. Aspect: open in all directions. The barrow occupies the highest point of the hill. Barrow B is centred at SS 6295 4770. It has been very badly robbed, and this has removed the entire top of the barrow and in places has obliterated it. Nevertheless it is recognisable as a low stone and earth mound averaging 18 metres in diameter, with a maximum height of 0.4 metres. In detail it comprises an irregular spread of stone and earth which forms the degraded central part of the barrow. The northern edge has been completely removed and is now only traceable as a slight vegetation change; the interior being turf, the exterior heather. The eastern and southern edges of the barrow are defined as low stony scarps. The western side has been severely robbed, leaving an isolated curving bank of material some 7.2 metres long, 2.6 metreswide and 0.4 metres high which originally formed the southern rim of the barrow. Vegetation: low heather and turf and some bilberry. Bracken encroaching from the north. The area appears to have been burnt off in recent years. Aspect: generally southerly. Barrow C is centred at SS 6312 4775. It lies to the east of A and B on east to northeast facing slopes below the summit of the Down, and consists of a compact stony, circular mound, with a diameter of 9.3 metres and a height of 0.4 metres. The mound is generally of consolidated composition, although in places some stone is loose. In addition there is a scatter of stone on the northeastern (downslope) side of the feature. These features appear to be more to do with natural agencies rather than excavation of the mound. It appears, therefore, that the cairn is intact. Vegetation: low heather and grass. Aspect: easterly. Barrow group surveyed at 1/2500. [7] Two barrows of the Trentishoe group can be seen on aerial photographs; barrow "A" is centred at SS 6296 4776 and measures up to 14 metres across. Barrow "B" is centred at SS 6295 4770, and measures approximately 12 metres across. These barrows are as described above. Barrow "C" is not visible, and is possible obscured by vegetation cover in the area. A large number of clearance cairns are also visible in the area (see MDE9000). [9] Trentishoe barrows, round cairns. A - Northern cairn with a hollowed interior. B - Southern cairn, surface very uneven and partially destroyed. [11] McDonnell notices two concentric mounds in this position. [12] Barrow A - Site in good condition. Barrow B - Site in stable condition. [13] The two Scheduled barrows (A and B) were visited as part of the Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009. Barrow A was given a survival score of 10 and Barrow B a score of 9. [14] The Scheduled part of the site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. A survival score of 5 was given to Barrow A and a score of 4 to Barrow B. [15] Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 1:10,000 Map, 1978. 1:10,000.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Willy, S. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 30 June 1952.
  • <3> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. 128.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. MJ Fletcher, F2, 15 August 1972.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Various. Scheduled Monument Notification . DOE (IAM) Eng 1971 56.
  • <6> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1986. Archaeological survey on Exmoor 1985/86: Trentishoe Down; a summary report. Site 271.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F3, 15 June 1993.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I. and Wilson-North, R.. 1993. Trentishoe, SS 64 NW 4, 7, 15, 31, 32, 33, 37/ink survey . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 051-52 (15 April 1972).
  • <10> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 NW. MD002171.
  • <11> Index: Ministry of Works. 1966. List of Ancient Monuments.
  • <12> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6247e.
  • <13> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1986. Archaeological survey on Exmoor 1985/86: Trentishoe Down; a summary report. Visited by Goodwin, 30 May 1994; 100,138. 100,147..
  • <14> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <15> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <16> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34656.

External Links (4)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12091
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12095
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12097
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2015
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2016
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/13
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/2
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/3
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20097
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20098
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20205
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO18
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107787
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107788
  • National Trust HER Record: MNA107790
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34656
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DV 608



Grid reference Centred SS 6302 4773 (192m by 92m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (7)

Record last edited

Jul 6 2021 5:19PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.