MDE1046 - Three Bronze Age barrows northeast of Brockenbarrow Farm (Monument)


A group of three Bronze Age bowl barrows are visible north of Brockenbarrow Farm, on fairly level ground with excellent visibility to the southwest and southeast. They are a mixture of grass and turf covered mounds.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 6679 4248 and SS 6661 4523 Tumuli (NR) [1] Three round barrows opened by Chanter in 1906. SS 6680 4249 round barrow 1: 10 paces by 2 1/2 feet. Within the barrow Chanter found a cairn beneath which was a cist containing a cremation in a bipartite urn. Probably a primary. The urn given to North Devon Athenaeum where it was smashed in 1914-15. SS 6685 4252 round barrow 2: 10 paces by 1 1/2 feet. The opening of this barrow revealed stone walls 2 feet and 10 feet within, which may imply concentric retaining circles 10 feet and 26 feet in diameter. The centre was apparently previously disturbed. There were the possible remains of a cist, some charcoal, and a flint flake. SS 6662 4253 The cist measured 300 milimetres deep by 330 milimetres by 430 milimetres and made up of five stones and a cover-stone. An urn full of bones, bone ash, charcoal, a burnt flint and extraneous earth was found, broken, within. The fragments were very fragile, but some reconstruction was possible. Obviously hand-moulded in clay, the urn stood about 255 milimetres high and had internal diameters of 255milimetres at the top and 185 milimetres at the bottom. The thickness of the coarse material varied from approximately 11milimetres to 18 milimetres. The urn was completely unornamented except for a plain rib half-way up Round barrow 3: 18 paces by 4 feet. Opened 1906 by Chanter who found mound entirely of earth and turves, no retaining wall but evidence of an earlier cutting extending downwards below sub soil. Possibly Westcotes "Broaken Barrow". Some sherds, probably 17th Century found near top of barrow. [2,14] Three bowl barrows. 1. SS 6679 4249; 10.0 metres diameter and 0.9 metres high. 2. SS 6661 4253; 15.0 metres diameter and 1.0 metres high, has evidence of slight mutilation at its centre. 3. SS 6682 4252; 14.0 metres diameter and 0.4 metres high. Published Surveys 25 inch revised. [3] A group of three barrows lying in improved pasture and centred at SS 6670 4250. SS 66617 42530. Turf covered barrow lying close to the northwest corner of a field, and disturbed by access to a gate to its northwest. The mound measures 16 metres north to south by 15 metres and stands to 1.4 metres in height. It is well defined and steep sided. On its west and east the barrow scarps have been sharpened up either by vehicle access to the field gate, or by recent ploughing. A shallow "hollow way" 0.5 metres deep has developed to the north of the mound, and is also the result of access to the gate. Further disturbance has been caused by sheep scrapes on the western side. Some stone is visable on the barrow, and the summit shows evidence of excavation: Either a central excavation pit or a trench driven in from the south where there is a slight hollowing. Vegetation: Close cropped turf. Aspect: Predominantly to west and east. SS 66799 42490. Grass covered mound measuring 9.4 metres north to south by 10.0 metres and standing to 1.2 metres high. The barrow is sharply defined, although some animal poaching and trampling has occurred and hummocks are visible in places. There is no field evidence for the excavation recorded by [3], although its sharp definition may suggest that it has been "restored" by the excavators. Vegetation: Long grass, tussocky ground. Aspect: Very good, with striking visibility to southwest and southeast especially. SS 66830 42528. Grass covered mound measuring 11 metres north to south by 10.5 metres and standing to 0.5 metres in height. This barrow is less well defined than the others in the group, being more smoothed in appearance. There is no field evidence for the excavation recorded by [2]. Vegetation: Long grass. Aspect: Very good, with striking visibility to southwest and southeast. These three barrows lie on roughly level ground with extensive views in a southerly direction. They lie within an enclosure landscape, which does not appear to have greatly altered their condition. The evidence for excavation is only conclusive in the case of the most westernly barrow, which appears to have been disturbed by either a central pit and/or a trench from the south. This would accord with the fact that, when Chanter excavated in 1906, he found evidence [2]. [4-5] The three barrows described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs. However, a possible fourth mound is also visible at SS 6673 4249, measuring approximately 16 metres in diameter. The Devonshire SMR has recorded a fourth possible barrow separately as visible on infrared photography (now recorded on Exmoor HER as MDE20712) but these photographs were not available for the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme. Further examination is required to identify this fourth barrow. [6,7,12] Round Barrow 1: There is a hollow in the top of the barrow. Quite a lot of stone scattered on surface. Condition stable under pasture, but has in the past been seriously truncated by ploughing at periphery. Round Barrow 2: The site is in a stable condition, low smooth profile, height 0.6 metres. Has clearly been ploughed in the past, but currently under long term pasture. Round barrow 3: showing marked signs of previous excavation. Now under pasture, but suffering from erosion by stock. [8] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave all three barrows a survival score of 3. [15] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. All three barrows were given a survival score of 0. [16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1892-1906. County Series, 2nd Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1905.
  • <2> Article in serial: Worth, R.H.. 1906. Twenty-Fifth Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. JFP Chanter, 58-62.
  • <3> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. P.113.
  • <4> Unpublished document: HARRINGTON, MBH. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 21 August 1972.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 20 July 1993.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1501 3172-73 (13 May 1946).
  • <7>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181. MD002181. [Mapped features: #42301 ; #42302 ; #42303 ]
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. 7 May 1877.
  • <9> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS64SE4.
  • <10> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK 1980. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. 3086. 3093 (April 1947).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/124 (May 1977).
  • <13> Photograph: Slide (SCC Planning Department). 6 May 1987.
  • <14> Monograph: L V Grinsell. 1953. The ancient burial-mounds of England . P.136.
  • <15> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <16> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34681, Extant 8 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17966
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2093
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2095
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2096
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/29
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/31
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/32
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20153
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20155
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20156
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO21
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34681
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DEVON 629



Grid reference Centred SS 6672 4251 (237m by 77m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (6)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Nov 8 2021 10:00PM


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