MDE1062 - Roe Barrow, South Common (Monument)


A Bronze Age burial cairn on the south of South Common, destroyed by excavation except for a stony rim. Exploration in 1905 produced a cist and a large quantity of charcoal, although the centre of the mound had previously been disturbed.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 6976 4433) Roe Barrow (NR) [1] On the south of South Common. [2] (SS69764433). A round barrow 12 paces by 1/2 foot, opened by Chanter on 20 May 1905. A trench four feet wide was cut through and it was noted that the cup shaped top was evidence of previous opening as the central material was mixed with earth right down to the bottom. The "barrow" was shown to be a cairn with about ten inches of earth and sod over it, with indications of a cist and a broken cover stone measuring 25 inches by 11 inches (possibly damaged during previous excavation), and a large quantity of charcoal in and around centre. [3,4] The barrow has been severely robbed and only the rim, 12.0 metres diameter and 0.6 metres high, remains. It lies in fallow land, but some stone dumping has occurred in its centre. Published survey 25 inch revised. [5] Roe Barrow is centred at SS 6976 4433. It lies in permanent pasture within enclosed land. It has overall measurements of 11.4 metres north to south by 10.3 metres west to east. In form it consists of a compact stony rim, which is all that survives of the barrow fabric: the whole of the interior has been removed by excavation, and further, the narrow rim which survives around the edge has been broken on the west and east by a trench cut across the site. The field evidence supports Chanter's assertion that the barrow had already been excavated before 1905: there is a central excavation pit which has removed most of the barrow material, and a west to east trench. Which of these episodes came first is impossible to tell. Of the spoil removed from the barrow, there is now no evidence except for a slight mound of material on its western side. The interior of the barrow is featureless but has had surface stones and small boulders dumped within it, presumably an operation associated with modern field clearance. Around the outer edge of the barrow is an outer scarp or rim - it seems most likely to be the result of ploughing around the barrow. Aspect: Roe Barrow has an open aspect to the west, north and northeast. To the south it is overlooked by the prominent west to east ridge occupied by the Chapman Barrows (MDE1061), but significantly, this barrow group and Roe Barrow are not intervisible. The site is currently under close cropped grass, and has suffered from animal erosion. [6-8] The remains of Roe Barrow are clearly visible on aerial photographs taken in 1952, apparently heavily damaged with only the edge visible. [9-10] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <2> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. 627.
  • <3> Article in serial: Worth, R.H.. 1905. Twenty-Fourth Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. 87-95. Volume 37 (1905), "Roe Barrow, Parracombe Common" 95 (R Hansford Worth).
  • <4> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. p126.
  • <5> Unpublished document: BUCKLEY, MHB. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 15 August 1972.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 October 1993.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I. & Wilson-North, R.. 1993. South Common, SS 64 SE 20, 21, 22, 25, 46, 47, 54/ink survey . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <8> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 4094-95 08-NOV-1952.
  • <10> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34727, Extant 9 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6975 4432 (23m by 20m)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SE/24
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2090
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20150
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO32
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE20
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34727

Record last edited

Nov 9 2021 4:36PM


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