MDE1196 - Four Bronze Age barrows on Bray Common (Monument)


A group of four Bronze Age barrows, lying within a larger group. They vary in size from 16 metres to 28 metres in diameter and 0.7 metres to 1 metre in height. At least two have suffered from stone robbing.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A: SS 7253 3760 B: SS 7255 3757 C: SS 7258 3754 D: SS 7274 3756 Tumuli (NR). [1] A: "High Bray No 10", bowl barrow seen by Grinsell in April 1949. R Rainbird-Clarke, in 1938, records a ditch with causeway 3 paces wide on the east of the barrow, where there are traces of anouter bank. This barrow is 24 paces in diameter and 3 feet high. B: "High Bray No 11", bowl barrow seen by Grinsell in April 1949. 13 paces in diameter and 4 feet high. C: "High Bray No 12", bowl barrow seen by Grinsell in April 1949. 18 paces in diameter and 2 feet high. D: "High Bray No 13", bowl barrow seen by Grinsell in April 1949. 23 paces in diameter and 2 and a half feet high. [2] Barrow D is surrounded by shallow trench 5 feet wide, lying within the margin of barrow. (Possibly not original [2]). Outer edge marked by circle of stones 67 feet in diameter, largest being 36 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches high; 12 stones are still extant. [3] A: A flat topped bowl barrow, 23 metres in diameter and 0.7 metres high with an 0.3 metre deep trench cut into the top of the slopes on the north side (see "D"). B: SS 7254 3756. A bowl barrow up to 16 metres across and 1.0 metre high. C: SS 7256 3755. A spread bowl barrow up to 20 metres across and with an average height of 0.7 metres. D: SS 7273 3755. A mutilated bowl barrow 28 metres in diameter and up to 0.7 metres high. An 0.3 metre deep trench has been dug into the top of the slope similar to "A" and Five Barrows barrow 8 (MDE1191). It is speculated that these trenches may have been dug to remove the retaining stones for road mending and hedging. Only a few of the stones noted by [3] are visible and these are at trench level. The published plan surveyed at 1:2500 was revised. [4] Four barrows described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on moorland north of North Twitchen, Brayford. The Devonshire HER has identified a fifth barrow (MDE1195), while aerial survey undertaken in [1980 by McDonnell (source 13) and] 2008 for Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme has identified a possible sixth (MMO2833). Possible ditches can be seen on aerial photographs as cropmarks surrounding barrows A and D, but these may be the trenches described above. NB: The Devon HER data [now incorporated into the Exmoor HER Monument record] has numbered the barrows differently: A - 725, B - 724, C - 723 and D - 722. [5, 6] A group of four barrows is visible on the 1st Edition map on Muxworthy Ridge. [7] During field investigation in 1979 all four barrows were in good condition although overgrown. [8] In 1982 the field was ploughed, causing damage to barrow D. The bank outside the ditch was considerably damaged and a piece of quartz-built wall inside the bank was disturbed. [9] A site visit in 1982 noted changes to the barrows: A: lies in different field to the north of barrows B and C. This field is rough pasture and barrow A has not undergone any recent changes. The field containing barrows B, C, and D has been ploughed northwest to southeast and resown with grass. B: now lies to the southeast of a fence which has been moved to the northwest. The field has been recently ploughed and resown with grass. Barrow B has been badly eroded by the plough on all sides. Some 2 metres of the edge of the mound has been ploughed over on the southeast side. There is no trace of a ditch. The top of the mound has also been eroded by sheep. C: has been badly eroded by the plough which has cut in to all sides of the mound. On the southeast side some 3 metres of the edge of barrow C has been ploughed over. Stones have been heaped up on the top of the mound. There is no trace of an outer ditch. D: has been badly eroded by plough, particularly on the south side where part of barrow D to the outside of trench (or ditch) has been lost. Some stone is visible where the plough has cut into the mound on the northwest side. The quartz stones set in the ditch (or trench) within the circumference of the mound appear in places to have been deliberately positioned. There is no sign of an external ditch around the mound. [10] In 1982 the Department of Environment Field Monument Warden visited; measures were introduced to prevent further damage to the barrows. [11] The barrows are visible in a colour photograph, stored as a slide. [12] The barrows were noted during aerial photograph investigation in 1980. These are seen on aerial photographs taken in 1947, 1977 and 1983. [13-16] The features are depicted in plan and section, as recorded by the Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. [17] The group was visited as part of the Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009. Barrow A was given a survival score of 3, B 3, C 0 and D 3. [18] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. The barrows receieved the following survival scores: A - 0; B - 3; C - 3 and D - 3. [19] The four barrows are depicted and labelled Tumuli on the 2020 MasterMap data. [20] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [21]

Sources/Archives (21)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. p 122.
  • <3> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. and Worth, R.H.. 1905. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. I. p 394, plate 6.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 4 March 1973.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1501 4046-47 (13 May 1946).
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 11SW.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology. 1979. Field Notes. 18 July 1979, in Parish File.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 17/05/1982. Letter to County Planning Officer.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Bovey & Timms. 1982. Site Visit Field Notes.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Weston, S.. 1982. Department of Environment Field Monument Warden visit. Letter dated 11 October 1982.
  • <12> Photograph: Anonymous. Slides.
  • <13> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography.
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK/1980.4442 (April 1947).
  • <15> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. MAM/14/060 (May 1977).
  • <16> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR/SS7237:SF1460/7 (7 March 1983).
  • <17> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS73NW10. Plan and section drawings..
  • <18> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <19> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <20>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped features: #42026 Barrow B, ; #42027 Barrow C, ; #42028 Barrow A, ; #42029 Barrow D, ]
  • <21> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35037, Extant 24 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 722
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 723
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 724
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 725
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/507
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/508
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/509
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/510
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20075
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20076
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20077
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20078
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO57
  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW10
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35037



Grid reference Centred SS 7263 3757 (243m by 82m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Jun 8 2022 4:49PM


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