Round barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey: part of Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009989

Date first listed: 14-Dec-1994


Ordnance survey map of Round barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey: part of Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009989 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2018 at 14:06:58.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Stainfield

National Grid Reference: TF 09742 73185


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their 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 and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The group of barrows and ring ditches 530m south east of Barlings Abbey constitute the greater part of a cemetery of at least 15 barrows and display a variety of forms, including one fancy barrow of exceptional size. The individual barrows and the cemetery as a whole retain important archaeological information, despite the fact that the upstanding earthworks have been ploughed over. The barrow mounds survive well, together with the broadly contemporary ground surface between them, beneath the protective cover of later alluvial deposits. Evaluation of the remains of one of the barrows on the eastern side has shown that basal deposits relating to the mounds and underlying surface survive undisturbed. Evidence concerning the construction of the barrows and the manner and duration of their use will be preserved in the lower levels of the surviving mounds, in the soils buried beneath the mounds, and in the infills of the buried ditches. Organic material, including evidence for the local environment at that time, will be preserved, also, in waterlogged deposits in the ditches, and the preservation of the ground surface between the barrows, especially in the western part of the site, ensures the survival of evidence important for the study of the development and use of the cemetery as a whole. The cemetery is one of four which have been recorded on the edge of the Witham fens.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of eleven round barrows of varying type in the eastern part of the Barlings-Stainfield barrow cemetery, located on a sand and gravel spur on the northern edge of the Witham peat fens. The barrows, and also the ground surface broadly contemporary with their construction and use, have been partly buried by later deposits of peat and alluvium which still extend over most of the western part of the monument. The field in which they lie has been under arable cultivation since at least 1847. Each of the barrows was constructed with a central, circular mound of sand and gravel which has been degraded by ploughing, except where the lower levels are still protected by overlying alluvial deposits. These earthworks are marked by circular areas of lighter, sandy soil, some of them still slightly mounded, which are visible on the ground and from the air. The mounds were encircled by ditches which have become infilled but survive as buried features, most of them visible in aerial photographs as rings of darker soil. At least three of the barrows include two concentric ditches. As a group, the barrows occupy an area with maximum dimensions of 290m north west - south east by 150m north east - south west.

At the centre of the group is the largest of the barrows and one of the most elaborate in form. It covers an area c.68m in diameter overall, and includes the remains of a central mound with a diameter of c.27m, surrounded by a very broad ditch, or more probably a berm and ditch, measuring 10m - 12m in width, with an encircling bank and outer ditch. A rectangular pit measuring c.19m by 8m, visible in air photographs as an area of dark soil, has been dug into the centre of the mound. Approximately 23m to the south east of this focal earthwork are the remains of a smaller barrow with an overall diameter of c.40m, including a central mound, encircled by two concentric ditches. To the south west of it, at a distance of c.55m, is a mound with a single surrounding ditch, c.26m in diameter overall, the southernmost and largest of four barrows which delimit the western extent of the monument. The mounds of the other three, which measure c.16m in diameter, show clearly through the surrounding alluvium and are set in a line roughly NNW - SSE at intervals of c.57m, c.37m, and c.12m respectively, the northernmost being c.135m north west of the large central barrow. Three more are set in line ESE of the northernmost barrow, at intervals of c.36m, c.35m and c.65m. The first of these has a small central mound surrounded by a broad ditch or berm and ditch and a concentric bank and outer ditch, and covers an area c.27m in diameter overall. The second, c.30m north west of the central barrow, is c.18m in diameter and has a single ditch with the traces of what appears to be an external bank, and the third, c.20m north east of the central barrow, is marked by a ring ditch c.33m in diameter. To the north east and east of latter, at a distance of c.15m and c.29m respectively, are the remaining two barrows of the group of eleven, marked by ring ditches c.27m and c.23m in diameter. Borehole sampling across the second of these has shown that the base of the central mound, the surface underlying it and probably some of the buried ground surface surrounding it, survive beneath the ploughsoil. Air photographs reveal the presence of a large rectangular pit, measuring c.10m by 6m, dug into the mound slightly off-centre. A further four barrows, which formed part of the same original cemetery, are the subject of a separate scheduling centred 300m to the west.

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: 21472

Legacy System: RSM


Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)
Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)
Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)

End of official listing