Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005642
Date first listed: 20-Aug-1954
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Mar-2019 at 11:11:25.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 74578 35418
Bell barrow called ’Jack’s Castle’ 595m north-east of Hilcombe Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows (particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. They are a particularly rare form of barrow. Although much is known about the bell barrow called ’Jack’s Castle’ 595m north-east of Hilcombe Farm it will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, the social organisation of its builders, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 9 July 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. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes a bell barrow situated on the summit of a prominent escarpment overlooking the distant valley of the River Brue. The barrow survives as a circular flat topped mound measuring up to 21m in diameter and 3m high, situated on a 4m wide berm standing 0.3m high and surrounded by a largely buried outer quarry ditch of up to 3m wide from which the construction material was derived, which is visible as a slight earthwork in places. The barrow was excavated by Colt Hoare and was found to have been composed of soft sandy material above a flint cairn which covered a primary cremation in a cist. The cremation was accompanied by a dagger in a wooden sheath and a stone axe. The barrow is also known locally as ‘Selwood Barrow’.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WI 339
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Wiltshire HER ST73NW600
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing