Bell barrow: part of the Brimpton Common barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012428

Date first listed: 26-Aug-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jul-1991


Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow: part of the Brimpton Common barrow cemetery
© 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.

District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Brimpton

National Grid Reference: SU 57394 62491


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

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 1600-1300 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 Brimpton Common barrow is particularly important as it survives well, and despite some evidence for partial excavation, has potential for the recovery of archaeological remains. Its importance is further enhanced by its inclusion within a linear barrow cemetery. Such cemeteries give an indication of the intensity with which an area was settled during prehistory and provide evidence for the variety of beliefs and the nature of social organisation in the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a large bell barrow set on level ground 1km south- east of the River Enborne. The barrow is 55m in diameter and stands to a height of 2m. The central mound has a diameter of 30m. This is surrounded by a berm c.5m across, a low bank and a ditch from which the mound material was quarried. This survives to a width of 7.5m and is 0.5m deep. A hollow in the centre of the mound suggests it may have been partially excavated, probably in the 19th century.

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: 12234

Legacy System: RSM


Berkshire SMR, 1036.02,

End of official listing