MDE1222 - Probable Bronze Age barrows on Cosgate Hill (Monument)


A linear group of mounds are thought to be Bronze Age barrows. They vary in size from 7 to 10 metres in diameter and from 0.5 to 0.8 metres high.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 7892 4884 and SS 7895 4884 and SS 7899 4882) Tumuli (NR). [1] A group of four bowl barrows, 'A' at (SS 7892 4884). This barrow is 11 paces in diameter and 1 foot in height 'B' at (SS 7895 4884). This barrow is 7 paces in diameter and 6 inches high. 'C' at (SS 7899 4882). This barrow is 11 paces in diameter and 2 feet in height. 'D' at SS 7896 4882 is 7 paces in diameter and 2 feet high. It is confluent with 'B'. Two of these barrows are scheduled monuments. [2] 'A' at SS 7892 4883 is a mutilated bowl barrow 12.0 metres in diameter. The bulk of the mound has been dug away leaving a rim up to 0.4 metres high, except on the west side where there is an 0.7 metre high gorse covered segment. 'B' at SS 7895 4882 are the fragmentary remains of a bowl barrow of approximately 6.0 metres in diameter. Its mound has been almost totally removed except for an 0.4 metre high remnant on the west side. There is no trace of a ditch. 'D' at SS 7895 4882 is a partially destroyed ditchless bowl barrow of approx 7.5m in diameter; it was originally confluent with 'B'. About one third of the mound, composed of turf-covered loose stone and earth, survives on the east side to a height of 0.5 metres. 'C' at SS 7899 4882 is a well preserved turf-covered bowl barrow with a diameter of 12.0 metres and a height of 0.8 metres. It has been slightly eroded on the north side and there is no evidence of a ditch. Published 1:2500 survey revised. [3] A linear group of four features, previously interpreted as barrows, centred at SS 7895 4882, on the western side of Cosgate Hill. 'E' at SS 7888 4884. A turf-covered stony mound 7 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high. Some stone is visible in places on the mound. Possibly a barrow. 'A' at SS 7892 4883. A hut circle like feature measuring 10.6 metres in diameter. It comprises a heather-covered, circular stony bank 0.7 metres high and 2.4 metres wide. It is well defined on the downslope or western side, but is less visible on the east. The interior is not platformed or cut into the slope, which reinforces its interpretation as a very disturbed and robbed barrow. 'B' and 'D' at SS 7895 4882. These have been previously recorded seperately but are in fact a single feature. It comprises a subrectangular banked area measuring 11.6 metres by 7.0 metres; integral with it at the eastern end is a heightening broadening of the bank, resulting in a mound like appearance. A similar mounding occurs at the western end, but is much slighter.The whole feature is sharply defined. There are no internal features and no obvious entrance. Even allowing for excavation, robbing and other disturbance, it is difficult to envisage this feature as a former barrow, although its relationship with 'E', 'A' and 'C' strengthens its interpretation. 'C' at SS 7899 4882. A very well defined mound measuring 10 metres in diameter and 0.8 metres high. It has a summit diameter of 3.5 metres. A hollow, 1.6 metres in diameter, has been dug into its top. A well preserved barrow. The interpretation of these features as barrows must be qualified by the appearance of 'B'/'D' and by the other features on Cosgate Hill (see MDE1228 and MDE1229) previously accepted as barrows, but whose interpretation is perhaps more complex, possibly suggesting a post-medieval and perhaps military function. However, 'A', 'C' and 'B'/'D' are all depicted in 1890. [4,5] The features are as described by [4] above. Their nature of construction, position and relationship with each other all suggest that these features represent the remains of prehistoric barrows. These features were recorded at 1:2500 scale using GPS equipment as part of an archaeological survey of the Cosgate Hill area. The survey was undertaken by the Exeter office of English Heritage at the request of the Exmoor National park Authority. A report was compiled as part of the survey work and is available from the NMRC, Swindon. [6,7,11] Three round barrows of probable Bronze Age date are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs, on the western side of Cosgate Hill, Countisbury parish, centred on circa SS 7894 4883. Although the clarity of the barrows on the available aerial photographs is poor, probably due to dense and irregular vegetation cover, the disturbed condition of barrow `A' is clear on photographs of 1952 and 1970. [8-10] The site was visited as part of the Scheduled Monuments at Risk survey in 2009. It was thought that the two barrows to the east are scheduled. The 'western' of these barrows (no grid reference supplied) was given a survival score of 7 whilst the 'eastern' barrow (grid reference only given to three figures, SS 789 488) was scored at 10 but was not accessible. It is possible that this latter barrow may be in fact that recorded under MMO71 but this is not clear, particularly as the grid reference supplied does not match. [12] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. The western barrow was noted to be at SS 78991 48825 and was given a survival score of 7. The eastern barrow was located at SS 79157 48831 and was scored at 10. It is not fully clear if these are the same two barrows that were assessed in the 2009 survey. [13] All four of the barrows were included in the Scheduling for Bronze Age barrows on Cosgate Hill in August 2016. [14] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [15]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • --- Unpublished document: Blaylock, Shirley. 2021. Scheduled Monument Management Plan for Linear barrow and cairn cemetery on Cosgate Hill circa 240m north-west of County Gate, Countisbury, Exmoor National Park.
  • <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. 116.
  • <3> Unpublished document: STONE, J.W.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 24 September 1974.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. Sheet 3(12).
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 14 November 1993.
  • <6> Unpublished document: JAMIESON, EJ. Field Investigators Comments. English Heritage Field Investigation, 2002.
  • <7> Report: Jamieson, E.. 2002. Cosgate Hill, Countisbury, Devon.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/910 (F20) 4051-2 (17 October 1952).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/70064 031-2 (3 May 1970).
  • <10> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NE. MD002168.
  • <11> Archive: Riley, H., Wilson-North, R. and Jamieson, E.. 2001-2002. Cosgate Hill, Countisbury. AF00030.
  • <12> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <13> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <14> Website: Historic England. 2015-. National Heritage List for England website. Reference 1002567.
  • <15> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35109, Extant 6 December 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NE/504
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NE/511
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NE/512
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NE/563
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12220
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12221
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12222
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 668
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20033
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20273
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20274
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20275
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO67
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NE3
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35109



Grid reference Centred SS 2789 1488 (115m by 31m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Mar 13 2024 5:18PM


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