Bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain on the western edge of Fargo Plantation and south of The Cursus: part of The Cursus round barrow cemetery
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jul-2019 at 22:14:18.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- Winterbourne Stoke
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 11085 42756
Reasons for Designation
A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for
ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods.
Two of the best known and earliest recognised areas are around Avebury and
Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site.
The area of chalk downland which surrounds Stonehenge contains one of the
densest and most varied groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age field monuments in
Britain. Included within the area are Stonehenge itself, the Stonehenge
cursus, the Durrington Walls henge, and a variety of burial monuments, many
grouped into cemeteries.
The area has been the subject of archaeological research since the 18th
century when Stukeley recorded many of the monuments and partially excavated a
number of the burial mounds. More recently, the collection of artefacts from
the surfaces of ploughed fields has supplemented the evidence for ritual and
burial by revealing the intensity of contemporary settlement and land-use. In
view of the importance of the area, all ceremonial and sepulchral monuments of
this period which retain significant archaeological remains are identified as
Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (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 and occasionally associated with
earlier long barrows. Where investigation beyond the round barrows has
occurred, contemporary or later 'flat' burials between the barrow mounds have
often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland
England with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases they are
clustered around other important contemporary monuments, as is the case both
here and at Avebury. Often occupying prominent positions, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape, while their diversity and their
longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities.
Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from 1600-1200 BC. They occur either in isolation or, as in this case, in round barrow cemeteries. Bell barrows were constructed as single or multiple mounds covering burials often in pits and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The burials in bell barrows appear to be those of aristocratic individuals and are also frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery vessels. Bell barrows are rare nationally with only 250 examples known of which 30 are located within the Stonehenge area.
The bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain situated south of the Cursus and on the western edge of Fargo Plantation survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes a large bell barrow known as the Monarch of the Plain
situated on the western edge of Fargo Plantation south of the Cursus and
forming part of the Cursus round barrow cemetery. The location has views
westwards across Winterbourne Stoke Down towards the valley of the River Till,
and prior to the planting of trees it had views to the south east towards
Stonehenge and Normanton Down. The Cursus round barrow cemetery contains 16
round barrows in all, including seven bowl barrows, six bell barrows, a twin
bell barrow and a disc barrow.
The barrow has a mound 28m in diameter and 3.5m high. It is surrounded by a
sloping raised berm 6m wide, which in turn is surrounded by a ditch 6m wide
and 0.5m deep from which material was quarried during the construction of the
monument. The overall diameter is therefore 52m. Partial excavation in the
19th century revealed charred wood.
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
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 207
Hoare, R C, Ancient History of Wiltshire, (1812), 164
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