Five Wells chambered tomb


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Five Wells chambered tomb
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Derbyshire Dales (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SK 12377 71038

Reasons for Designation

Chambered tombs are funerary monuments constructed and used during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They comprise linear mounds of stone covering one or more stone-lined burial chambers. With other types of long barrow they form the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly within the present landscape. Where investigated, chambered tombs appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. The number of burials placed within the tombs suggests they were used over a considerable period of time and that they were important ritual sites for local communities. Some 300 chambered tombs are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as upstanding monuments, and due to their rarity, their considerable age and longevity as a monument type, all chambered tombs are considered to be nationally important.

Although partially disturbed by stone-robbing and excavation, the structure of Five Wells chambered tomb is reasonably well preserved and surviving archaeological remains will include the old land surface beneath the barrow on which further burials would have been placed. In addition, its architectural features survive well and it is of an unusual type common to the Peak District in which the burial chambers are covered by a round or sub-circular barrow instead of the more typical linear form.


Five Wells chambered tomb is situated on Taddington Moor on the limestone plateau of Derbyshire. The monument includes a roughly circular burial-mound measuring 23m by 22m and surviving to a height of c.1m. Originally the mound would have been somewhat higher, but most of the surface was robbed of its stone in the eighteenth century. Stone was also taken in the late nineteenth century from the western part and a number of pits on the south side were created in the mid-twentieth century when material was taken for hard-core. Visible today are the remains of two limestone orthostat chambers, situated back to back and orientated east-west with approach passages leading from the western and eastern edges of the mound. These internal features have paved floors and were covered by a cairn measuring 16m by 14.5m which was built of horizontally laid limestone slabs and covered in turn by a mound of earth and stone. In addition to the recovery of skeletal remains and pottery by workmen prior to the mid-eighteenth century, there have been four partial excavations of the monument carried out by Bateman in 1846, Jewitt in 1862, Lukis in 1865 and Salt between 1899 and 1901. Bateman recovered the remains of at least twelve individuals in the two chambers along with burnt bones and a flint, while Jewitt found pottery and a flint and Lukis found the remains of three skeletons in the western passage. Salt found further human remains within the chambers and passages along with flint implements, which included a leaf-shaped arrowhead and a plano-convex knife, and sherds of pottery of the types known as Neolithic plain ware and Peterborough ware. A barbed and tanged arrowhead was found on the surface of the mound and Salt also uncovered a cist in the north-western part of the monument which was placed outside the cairn but within the earth mound. This contained a contracted inhumation and, along with another inhumation and some burnt bone found in a pit in the top of the mound, is believed to be a secondary burial. The architectural features and archaeological remains indicate that the barrow was in use from the Early Neolithic, with a period of re-use either in the Late Neolithic or to the Bronze Age.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Barnatt, J, The Peak District Barrow Survey (1989), (1989)
Bateman, T, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, (1849)
Bray, W, Skeletons of a Tomb into Derbyshire and Yorkshire, (1775)
Marsden, B M, The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire , (1977)
Pilkington, J, A View of the Present State of Derbyshire, (1789)
Lukis, F C, 'The Reliquary' in Archaeological Notes made by Cpt Francis Dubois Lukis..., (1868)
Manby, T G, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in The Chambered Tombs of Derbyshire, , Vol. 78, (1958)
Radley, J, Plant, M, 'Derbyshire Archaeological Journal' in Two Neolithic Sites at Taddington, , Vol. 87, (1967)
Jewitt, A, (1811)


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

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