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Prehistoric barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down, 900m north of Drakelands Farm

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Prehistoric barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down, 900m north of Drakelands Farm

List entry Number: 1004572


Barrow Cemetery Crownhill Down is 900m north of Drakelands Farm, Drakeland Corner, and is centered on NGR SX5719359854, Sparkwell, South Hams, Devon

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Sparkwell

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 22-Oct-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Jan-2014

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

UID: DV 759

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

The monument includes twelve barrows and cairns, probably dating from the Early to Mid-Bronze Age. They are aligned north to south, near the summit of the prominent ridge known as Crownhill Down.

Reasons for Designation

The prehistoric barrow cemetery on the ridge at Crownhill Down is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Potential: it will contribute to our understanding of the social organisation and burial practices of the county's Bronze Age population; * Survival: the site survives comparatively well as earthworks with a diverse range of funerary structures including barrows, ring cairns and platform cairns; * Documentation (archaeological): survey has enhanced our understanding of the form and survival of these features and their landscape context; * Group value: it has strong group value with the adjacent barrow cemetery (Barrow cemetery on western slope of Crownhill Down, National Heritage List 1003201) and with other scheduled monuments in the area that collectively form an important archaeological landscape.


The prehistoric barrow cemetery at Crownhill Down includes a linear arrangement of barrows and cairns. The main period of round barrow construction occurred in the Early Bronze Age between about 2200-1500 BC, although Neolithic examples are known from as early as 3000 BC. They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials, and occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Round barrows and cairns sometimes form mixed cemeteries, which are concentrations of one or more round barrows in close proximity to two or more cairns. Cairns can include ring cairns which are low, circular banks of stone defining a central space, sometimes with a mound in the centre, though often the central space is empty; and embanked platform cairns comprising low, circular platforms of stone or earth, topped with a low bank, and often with a central mound. Contemporary or later `flat' graves may lie between individual barrows. Barrow cemeteries occur throughout most of upland Britain; their distribution pattern complements that of contemporary lowland earthen round barrows. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period and they can exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form.

The barrow cemetery on Crownhill Down dates from the prehistoric period, probably the Bronze Age. The English Heritage PastScape entry states that at least two of its barrows show signs of possible antiquarian disturbance. In 2002 English Heritage carried out an archaeological landscape survey of Crownhill Down and the adjacent Riding Down creating a multi-phase plan of the area.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS This monument includes twelve barrows and cairns, probably dating from the Early to Mid-Bronze Age. They are aligned north to south, near the summit of the prominent ridge known as Crownhill Down.

DESCRIPTION The cemetery survives as a linear arrangement of round barrows, a ring cairn and two platform cairns. The ring cairn is visible as a level, circular area measuring up to 8.7m in diameter, surrounded by a circular bank of up to 1.5m wide and 0.5m high. The two platform cairns take the form of flat-topped stony mounds measuring up to 13.5m in diameter and 0.4m high. The earthworks of the round barrows comprise circular stony mounds which vary in diameter from 8.9m up to 16m in diameter and from 0.3m up to 0.8m high. The associated quarry ditches, some 2m wide, from which the construction material was derived survive as earthworks around some of the mounds, those that have become filled in over time are likely to survive as buried features. Two of the round barrows appear to be conjoined.

EXCLUSIONS: the modern fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, however, the ground beneath them is included.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Fletcher, M, The Archaeolgocial Landscape of Crownhill Down and Ridding Down, South Hams, Devon: English Heritage Archaeological Investigation Report Series AI/31/2002, (2002)
Collis, J R, Gilbertson, D D, Hayes, P P, Samson, C S , 'Journal of Field Archaeology' in The Prehistoric And Medieval Field Archaeology Of Crownhill Down, Dartmoor, England, (Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring, 1984 )
Devon Historic Environment Record:-1780 ,
Hughes, Simon, Crownhill Down barrow cemetery and Emmets Post round barrow, Sparkwell and Shaugh Moor Parishes, Devon: Results of an archaeological trial trench evaluation ACD253/1/1, June 2011,
PastScape Monument No:-438398 ,

National Grid Reference: SX5719159870


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End of official listing