MSO8677 - Probable Bronze Age burial cairn at Bradley Hams (Monument)


A probable Bronze Age burial cairn is visible as a circular bank with an external ditch, measuring about 24 metres in diameter. It has also been interpreted as a tree ring enclosure but there is no other post-medieval landscaping in the vicinity.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 8555 3470. Withypool 7a. Mound 23 paces in diameter visited by Charles Whybrow in July 1962. Probably a tree clump enclosure, surmounted by an Ordnance Survey trigpoint. Listed as 'doubtful or rejected'. [1] SS 855 347. Typical barrow feature shown at this location on 3 inch drawing and 1st edition 1 inch maps. On the 25 inch map of 1889 a circular banked feature is depicted (see illustration) similar to tree ring clumps elsewhere in the region (eg. MSO8114). [2-4] An earthen ring with a triangulation pillar on its eastern side is depicted by the Ordnance survey in both 1889 [4] and 1904 [5]. By 1975 neither the ring nor the pillar are shown [6]. The earthwork is centred at SS 8555 3470 and consists of a circular enclosing bank with an external ditch. There are no obvious breaks in the bank. The circle measures 235.1 metres (north to south) by 24.6 metres with the external ditch averaging 1.3 metres wide. The bank is up to 0.3 metres high and averages between 1.4 metres and 1.7 metres wide, although it is very poorly preserved. It appears more likely that the field remains represent a cairn rather than a tree ring enclosure. The position on the western top of a spur dominating the area to the west is ideal for a cairn, whereas there is no other post-medieval landscaping on this side. Also, the ring appears to be unusually small. There is no stone within the earthwork, although this is explained by the regular improvement the field has received. The site of the triangulation is not discernable. [5-7] The circular earthwork is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 8553 3469. On photographs taken prior to 1964 the bank appears up to 4 metres wide forming a circular enclosure with an outer diameter of approximately 25 metres. The outer ditch is circa 2 metres wide. The earthworks appear clearly defined with little sign of the damage or erosion that might be expected of a prehistoric monument. As such, a post-medieval date seems more likely. Nonetheless, it does appear small for a tree ring and its function is uncertain; if it is a tree ring it may never have been planted. [8-11] The site of the monument was included within a geophysical survey in February 2014. The feature was noted to produce a circular positive anomaly with moderate strength dipolar responses in the centre. This indicated a former ring ditch with associated activity in its centre. It was suggested that the ground here had been disturbed, possibly with the introduction of a foreign material rather than any clearly defined pit feature. [12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1969. Somerset Barrows, Part 1: West and South. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Nat. 113. p 20, 42.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . 3 inch, 1802-3.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1809. 1" 1st edition.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904, Somerset 56(4).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . 1:2500, 1975, SS 8534.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Chapman, H.P.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 22 March 1995.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G//UK/1655 4386-7 (11 July 1946).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821(F61) 0261-4 (27 April 1964).
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR MAL/76067 225 (4 August 1976).
  • <11> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SE. MD002198.
  • <12> Report: Richardson, T.. 2014. Geophysical survey report: Great Bradley, Somerset.
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35792, Extant 1 February 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8554 3467 (65m by 80m)
Map sheet SS83SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO127
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11978
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE13
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35792
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34592

Record last edited

Feb 1 2022 12:11PM


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