MSO9184 - Great Rowbarrow (Monument)


A heavily mutilated Bronze Age burial cairn west of Dunkery Beacon, measuring 22 metres in diameter and 1.6 metres high.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 87544153) Great Rowbarrow (NR) [1] The cairn known as 'Great Rowbarrow' is situated close to the moorland trackway to Lang Combe Head and on the east side of it. It is a large cairn, much mutilated by deep hollows and high ridges, especially along the north half of the mound. The greater part of the cairn has a bank-shaped footing of heaped stones, but there is little sign of this on the south side. The structure is circa 70 feet in diameter, however this is rather irregular,and from 6-7 feet high. [2] Scheduled. [3] This is a very disturbed cairn, listed by Grinsell as Cutcombe 3. [4,5] SS 87534154. Cutcombe 3. Great Rowbarrow, mutilated cairn including ruins of modern stone-heap now integrated with the original cairn. It is named Great Barrow on the Tithe Map of 1840. Cutcombe 4a. "One or two of Rowbarrows had been examined incompletely" on 2 November 1807 [6,7](MSO9183, MSO9184, MSO9185 are known as 'Rowbarrows'). [4] Additional Bibliography. [8] SS 8754 4153. Great Rowbarrow, a large heavily mutilated cairn situated on a prominent hilltop at 507 metres above sea level. Composed of boulders and stones it measures approximately 22 metres overall with a maximum height of about 1.6 metres. A crude (? modern) cairn, 0.4 metres high and constructed of fairly large stones, has been erected on the top, and two small circular wind shelters occupy parts of the mound. There is no evidence of a kerb and the apparent rim, a 4.0 metres wide band of small stone enclosing part of the mound has almost certainly been caused by random excavation or disturbance. Small shallow and amorphous quarry pits, probably the source of some cairn material, lie to the west and south. Visible on aerial photographs. [9-11] The cairn is as described by [7] and lies at SS 87545 41536. It was surveyed using GPS as part of the RCHME East Exmoor project. [12] The heavily mutilated mound known as Great Rowbarrow, probably a cairn of Bronze Age date, can be seen as an earthwork on aerial photographs centred on circa SS 8754 4153, approximately 1.6 kilometres to the west of Dunkery Beacon. The earthwork measures up to 25 metres in diameter and field investigation reveal it stands up to 1.6 metres high. Numerous small and shallow quarry pits, probably the source of the cairn material, lie to the south and west of the monument. [9,13,14] Enclosing low bank is heather covered. Practise of removing stones is the greatest erosion threat to the cairn. [15] Small patch of turf and heather on the summit. Most of the cairn is a bank covered with heather and whortleberry. 7 feet high on the north side, 6 feet on the south. [16] Scheduled as AM 48c. Other mounds nearby. [17] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a score of 8. [22] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 6. [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] Great Rowbarrow is depicted and labelled on the 2021 MasterMap data. [25]

Sources/Archives (25)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Article in serial: Gray, H.St.G.. 1932. Rude stone monuments of Exmoor (Somerset Portion): Part IV. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 78. P. 122-23.
  • <3> Index: Ministry of Works. 1961. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales. P. 81.
  • <4> Article in serial: Grinsell, L V. 1969. Somerset barrows, part 1. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 113. P. 16,29.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. GPH, F1, 21 June 1965.
  • <6> Monograph: Barrister, A.. 1811. A Tour in Quest of Geneology, through several parts of Wales, Somersetshire, and Wiltshire. Sherwood, Neely and Jones. P. 136-8.
  • <7> Monograph: Collinson, J.. 1791 (2006). The History and Antiquities of Somerset. Archive CD Books Ltd. Part 2, (1839) P. 125.
  • <8> Article in serial: Horne, E. 1929. Ancient Monuments in Somerset. Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society. 75. P. 95.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 952-3 (29 April 1973).
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR SS8741 1 1088-9 (20 April 1982).
  • <11> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F2, 7 March 1987.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 28 January 1997.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. SS 8741/9 (15450/19) (15 May 1996).
  • <14> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.
  • <15> Unassigned: National Trust archaeologist. July 1976.
  • <16> Report: Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. Field Monument Warden Report.
  • <17> Unassigned: Dennison, E, Somerset County Council. 22.06.84.
  • <18> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8741.
  • <19> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 4169.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-177 Run 87. 8625.
  • <21> Aerial photograph: 10/1/1989. DAP LD24, 25.
  • <22> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <23> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <24> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35967, Extant 13 October 2021.
  • <25>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #42307 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 8754 4153 (34m by 34m)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (5)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO144
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO1153
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7330
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE9
  • National Trust HER Record
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35967
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): SOMER 48c
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33483

Record last edited

Oct 13 2021 9:20AM


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