Bowl barrow and folly ruins on Cothelstone Hill, 1km north east of St Agnes' Well


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow and folly ruins on Cothelstone Hill, 1km north east of St Agnes' Well
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1015086 .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 23-Sep-2019 at 20:48:25.


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

Taunton Deane (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 18979 32677

Reasons for Designation

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards. Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on the hills through time. These earthworks are one of the key components of the Quantocks' broader landscape character. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. In excess of 30 bowl barrows can be found on the Quantock Hills. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations among early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Cothelstone Hill lies at the south end of the sandstone ridge of the Quantocks, has high visitor rates and exhibits a range of monuments in a comparatively small area. The bowl barrow will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its structure, function and period of construction. The post- medieval folly, constructed on the barrow, gives the barrow an unusual dimension and obvious historic interest.


The monument includes a bowl barrow surmounted by foundations of a ruined post-medieval folly. It is located on the highest point of Cothelstone Hill, at the south west end of the sandstone ridge of the Quantock Hills. The barrow mound is 1.5m high, and 12m in diameter. A spread of stone rubble and earth covers an area to the north and west of the mound. A break of slope on the western slope indicates the junction of the barrow and folly. The folly is represented by a level platform on top of the mound in which stone foundations are apparent. The circular tower was destroyed in 1910, having been built for Lady Hillsborough, the estate owner, between 1768 and 1780 for the purpose of viewing the surrounding country. The monument was noted by L V Grinsell as Cothelstone Beacon in 1961.

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, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 28
Kemeys-Tynte, St D M, 'Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries' in Cothelstone Tower, , Vol. 16, (1920), 295-297
Neolithic & Bronze Age flint, Flint scatter 43034,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].