Barrow cemetery on western slope of Crownhill Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1003201

Date first listed: 04-Apr-1986


Ordnance survey map of Barrow cemetery on western slope of Crownhill Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Shaugh Prior

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Sparkwell

National Grid Reference: SX 56669 59919


Round cairn cemetery on Crownhill Down 350m NNW of Wheal Florence.

Reasons for Designation

Round cairn cemeteries date to the Bronze Age. They comprise groups of cairns sited in close proximity to one another and take the form of stone mounds constructed to cover single or multiple burials. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual cairns. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form. Occasionally they are associated with earlier long cairns. They may also be associated with clearance cairns - heaps of stones cleared from the adjacent ground surface to improve its quality for agricultural activities; these were also being constructed during the Bronze Age, although some examples are of later date. It may be impossible without excavation to distinguish between some burial and clearance cairns. Round cairn cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Often occupying prominent locations they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. Their diversity and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite some partial early excavation or robbing of some of the cairns the round cairn cemetery on Crownhill Down 350m NNW of Wheal Florence survives comparatively well. The continued use of this prominent hill as a territorial marker for parish boundaries of much later date indicates the overall significance of this area in the surrounding landscape as a landmark. The cemetery will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, use, longevity of the cemetery, funerary and ritual practices, social organisation and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a round cairn cemetery situated on the western slopes of the prominent ridge known as Crownhill Down. The cemetery survives as at least eight round cairns, in a linear arrangement in groups of varying numbers. The cairns survive as circular stony mounds which vary in diameter from 6m up to 12.5m and from 0.2m to 0.7m high. Several cairns appear to have been built around earthfast boulders and some shown signs of early partial excavation or robbing. The area around the cairns includes unmarked flat graves and a variety of sub-surface structures associated with ritual and funerary use. The later parish boundary utilises the same ridge.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 1027

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:-438411

End of official listing