MSO6730 - Alderman's Barrow, Almsworthy Common (Monument)


A Bronze Age round barrow measuring 24 metres in diameter and disturbed by road construction and probable excavation. There is a World War Two antiquity star on its northwest side.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 83674233] Alderman's Barrow (NR) [1] Alderman's Barrow, round barrow. Scheduled. [2] Grinsell's Exford No 1, a bowl barrow 29 paces in diameter and 4.5 feet high. [3] The name Alderman's Barrow is a corruption of Owlaman's Barrow, and before that it was known as Osmund's Barrow. [4] This is a disturbed bowl barrow. It is 1.4 metres high and has had a hole 0.7 metres deep dug into its top. (See GPs AO/65/138/7 & 8 Stereo pair). Covered with heather and reeds but in good condition. Resurveyed at 1:2500. [5] It was named Osmundesburgh and variants in boundary perambulations 1219 - 1301, known as Owlaman's Burrow from 1651 to 1815 and as Alderman's Burrow or Barrow from 1782 onwards. [6] Alderman's Barrow lies at the north-west end of Almsworthy Common, on the boundary of the parishes of Luccombe, Porlock, Exford and Exmoor. It comprises a turf-covered, circular, flat-topped, earth and stone mound, 24 metres in diameter, north-south, by 22 metres; it is 1.4 metres high. The barrow is largely intact and in good condition, and is now covered in dense heather and bracken. Several activities have taken place to disturb the original form of the barrow: 1. The creation of a road on its north side has clipped the edge of the barrow. 2. A sharp-sided, irregular pit, some 8 metres across and 0.7 metres deep has been dug into its centre. 3. There is an area of disturbance in the area of the southwest quadrant, in the form of a narrow trench which follows the base of the barrow scarp. Both 2 and 3 are probably the result of undocumented antiquarian activity, but may also be the product of robbing. Certainly 3 appears to be an attempt to ascertain whether the barrow has an encircling kerb. Some 4 metres from the barrow on its north-west side is an Antiquity Star put up during WWII to alert gunnery crews on the nearby ranges to the fact that an archaeological monument existed. Alderman's Barrow was surveyed during July 1996 as part of RCHME's West Exmoor Project. [7-10, 22] Aldermans Barrow is a substantial earthwork clearly visible on many of the aerial photographs assessed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme (NMP) survey. The truncation of the northern edge of the earthwork and the central depression are apparent from the air, but the more subtle damage described above is obscured by the pervasive vegetation cover. [11-13] Very prominent, 25 metre diameter and 1.35 metres high. The barrow is situated by by the roadside. Apparently formed of turf and stones. The top is flat and there is a hole cut down approximately 7m across and 0.45 metres deep. [14] Was a boundary marker of Exmoor forest and is mentioned in several perambulations from 1219 to 1815. [15, 22] Name may indicate a boundary of Almsworthy Manor; both names may stem from Domesday name Edmund in 'Edmundswortha', a manor of Exford. [18] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a score of 8. [20] The barrow was included in the Exmoor National Park Monument Management Scheme for 2011-12, due to the threat of bracken. It is hoped that cutting the bracken will encourage grazing on the site and therefore halt bracken encroachment in future. [21] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 10. [23] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [24]

Sources/Archives (24)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Index: Department of the Environment (IAM). 1978. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978. P. 117.
  • <3> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows, Part 1: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 113.
  • <4> Monograph: Meynell, L.. 1953. The Regional Books Series: Exmoor. Robert Hale Ltd.. 1st Edition. P. 51.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. GH Pitcher, 29 June 1965.
  • <6> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows. Part I: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 113. P. 13,16,31.
  • <7> Technical drawing: Best, J. & Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Alderman's Barrow/ink survey . 1:200. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Best, J.E.. 1996. Alderman's Barrow/pencil survey. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 23 July 1996.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Joanne E Best, 23 July 1996.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 (F20) 3099-100 (8 November 1952).
  • <12> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA JAS 85041 096-7 (29 August 1985).
  • <13> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <14> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <15> Monograph: MacDermot, E T. 1911. A History of Exmoor Forest. P. 4.
  • <16> Article in serial: Gray, H.St.G. 1931. Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor (Somerset Portion). Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 77. P. 80.
  • <17> Monograph: Page, J.L.W.. 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor and the Hill Country of West Somerset: With Notes on its Archaeology. P. 9.
  • <18> Article in serial: Howes, Rev. J.G. 1889. Notes on Exford. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 35. 2. P. 42.
  • <19> Monograph: Usmar, J.. 1990. Stoke Pero, Exmoor: Church and Parish. P. 3.
  • <20> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <21> Report: Turner, J.. Monument Management Scheme: 2011-12.
  • <22> Monograph: Siraut, M.. Royal Forest, Exmoor: A guide to the Royal Forest of Exmoor. Exmoor National Park Authority. 3, 22.
  • <23> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <24> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36231, Extant 12 July 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8367 4232 (31m by 32m)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO174
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11255
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6858
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7389
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7899
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW11
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36231
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33596

Record last edited

Jul 12 2021 4:59PM


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