Bendel's Barrows, Exford Common
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006211
Date first listed: 04-Apr-1949
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park: EXMOOR
National Grid Reference: SS 85388 40940, SS 85495 41082
Platform barrow and bowl barrow called Bendels Barrows.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include stone settings, stone alignments, standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows'). Platform barrows, funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC), are the rarest of the recognised types of round barrow, with fewer than 50 examples recorded nationally. They occur widely across southern England with a marked concentration in East and West Sussex and can occur either in barrow cemeteries (closely-spaced groups of barrows) or singly. They were constructed as low, flat-topped mounds of earth surrounded by a shallow ditch, occasionally crossed by an entrance causeway. None of the known examples stands higher than 1m above ground level, and most are considerably lower than this. Due to their comparative visual insignificance when compared to the larger types of round barrow, few were explored by 19th century antiquarians. As a result, few platform barrows are disturbed by excavation and, consequently, they remain a poorly understood class of monument. Their importance lies in their potential for illustrating the diversity of beliefs and burial practices in the Bronze Age. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Over 370 bowl barrows, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are found on or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor - the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge - whilst individual barrows and groups may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. The rare platform barrow and bowl barrow known as Bendels Barrows survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 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.
This monument, which falls into two areas, includes a platform barrow and a bowl barrow situated on the summit of a ridge called Exford Common overlooking the valleys of the River Quarme and the Embercombe Water. The platform barrow is to the south west and survives as a low oval mound measuring up to 15m north to south and 13m east to west and up to 0.2m high with a slight circular mound towards the southern side of the platform standing to 6m in diameter and 0.5m high. Soil marks surrounding the platform indicative of the surrounding buried quarry ditch from which the construction material was derived suggest the original diameter of the platform may have extended to 22m. The bowl barrow to the north east survives as a circular mound of up to 22m in diameter and 0.4m high soil marks on aerial photographs suggest it may have originally reached 26m in diameter but was subsequently disturbed by peat cutting.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SO 171
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-35944
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