Bell barrow 670m north east of Crow Hall: one of a group of round barrows on Harpley Common


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow 670m north east of Crow Hall: one of a group of round barrows on Harpley Common
© 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.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 76143 27941

Reasons for Designation

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. As a particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.

The bell barrow 670m north east of Crow Hall is of an unusual form, in that the central mound is set upon a raised platform - not normally a feature of this class of monument which is, in any case, rare in Norfolk. The barrow survives well and will retain archaeological information which has additional interest in the context of one of the principal round barrow groups in north west Norfolk. Evidence for the construction of the barrow, the date and manner of its use, and also the local environment at that time, will be contained in the mound, in the soil buried beneath the mound and in the fill of the buried ditch. The barrow group as a whole is of wider importance for the study of the character and development of the prehistoric population of the area.


The monument includes a bell barrow which is one of a dispersed group of round barrows sited on a broad ridge at the western edge of the Good Sands upland region of north west Norfolk. The barrow stands 70m east of Peddars Way and is visible as an earthen mound c.1m high and c.12m in diameter, surrounded by a berm c.6m wide on a raised earthen platform up to c.0.8m in height and covering a circular area c.23m in diameter. The platform is surrounded by a ditch up to 4m wide which has become infilled but which survives as a buried feature. The monument has an overall diameter of c.31m. The barrow group as a whole is aligned on a north west-south east axis over a distance of c.2.6km.

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.

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Books and journals
Lawson, A, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in , , Vol. 2, (1976), 49-62
3531: West Norfolk, Harpley,


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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