Henge 220m ESE of Herring's House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)
Great Wilbraham
National Grid Reference:
TL 53435 56848

Reasons for Designation

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval- shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national importance.

Despite being reduced by ploughing, the monument 220m ESE of Herring's House survives in good condition for this class of monument. Deeper features within the interior will be well preserved and silts contemporary with the use of the monument will survive in the buried ditches. The latter deposits in particular provide favourable conditions for the recovery of artefacts and environmental evidence which will provide rare information for the character and date of construction and use of the monument and for the landscape in which it was set. The henge is one of the best preserved of the five known examples in Cambridgeshire, and its importance is enhanced both by its location on the edge of Fulbourn Fen and its proximity to a Neolithic causewayed enclosure.


The monument includes a henge, defined by a series of concentric banks and ditches. It is located towards the northern end of a low lying chalk promontory which is raised slightly above the peat levels of the Fulbourn Fen to the north, and surrounded to the north, east and west by tributaries of the Little Wilbraham River. Low, ploughed-down earthworks mark the location of the monument, but the henge is most clearly observed from the air and is recorded on aerial photographs; the following description is largely based on the photographic record. The henge is approximately circular in plan and has maximum dimensions of 160m north to south and 150m east to west. It comprises a C-shaped ditch, some 8m in width, which is flanked on the inner side by a broad, c.18m wide bank. A second narrower ditch, measuring approximately 6m across, is contained within the circuit of the bank. Both the ditches and the bank are interrupted by a 30m wide gap in the north eastern arc which represents the single entrance to the enclosure. The terminals of the outer ditch are slightly enlarged and extend for approximately 10m to the north east to either side of the entrance way. The southern terminal is flanked by a corresponding alteration in the circuit of the internal bank. Two sections of a further external bank, also about 18m in width, have been noted around the northern and southern arc of the outer ditch, separated by a 60m wide gap on the opposite side to the entrance. A small, three sided enclosure defined by a c.6m wide ditch is located within the central area of the henge. This feature measures approximately 30m square with the open side orientated towards the entrance. Measurements taken on the ground indicate that the banks survive to a height of c.0.2m-0.4m, and are characterised by concentrations of flint rubble and gravels quarried from the underlying subsoil. The ditches can be identified as areas of darker, less stony soil. Several flint artefacts, including a hand axe of Neolithic date, have been found in the vicinity of the henge, and a Neolithic causewayed enclosure lies approximately 1km to the north east.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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:


Arrowheads and Neo.axe found locally, Hyde-Smith, B, Artifacts in the possession of the landowner's familly, (1994)
Ki-I 117 provides the clearest image, CUCAP, Ki-I 117-119 28/11/1965, (1965)
Schedule entry copy, Oetgen, J, Causewayed Enclosure 900m west of Great Wilbraham Parish Church, (1993)
Spedding, A 1983, NAR, 09292, (1989)


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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