The Rookery bowl barrow, part of the Chippenham barrow cemetery, 250m south of Waterhall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015244

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of The Rookery bowl barrow, part of the Chippenham barrow cemetery, 250m south of Waterhall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: East Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Chippenham

National Grid Reference: TL 67885 67009


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.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, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The Rookery bowl barrow survives well. The mound is undisturbed and stands close to its original height. Funerary remains together with other artefacts and structural evidence contained within the mound will provide details concerning the date of its construction, the duration of its use and the character of prehistoric burial. The former ground surface beneath the mound will retain valuable evidence for activities preceding its construction, and environmental information illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set. The association between this barrow and the others which form both the cemetery and the wider alignment is highly significant, providing insights into the development of ritual practice, the position of the prehistoric trackway across the chalk escarpment, and the pattern of prehistoric settlement in the region.


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


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow located 250m to the south of Waterhall Farm, within a small copse immediately to the north of the A14 known as `The Rookery'. The barrow stands on the broad ridge of the low chalk escarpment. To the south a slight gradient descends in the direction of Newmarket, and to the north the ground gradually falls towards Chippenham and the fen edge around Worlington and Isleham. The barrow mound is roughly circular in plan and domed in profile, measuring c.35m in diameter and 1m in height. It was first noted in C Fox's `Archaeology of the Cambridge Region'(1923), at which time it was recorded as unexamined. There is no evidence of archaeological excavation since this time, and the mound is therefore assumed to remain undisturbed. The barrow forms part of a dispersed group or cemetery which included at least ten similar barrows, seven of which still survive (and are scheduled separately). The cemetery is aligned broadly east-west, extending over a distance of c.1.5km to the south of Chippenham Park. The Rookery barrow lies some 530m from the site of three barrows grouped together at eastern end of the cemetery, two of which were thoroughly archaeologically excavated in 1940 and the area subsequently ploughed; the third barrow is scheduled separately as SM 27177; c.320m to the ESE lies a surviving barrow in Hilly Plantation (SM 27179) - the nearest member of a group of barrows clustered near the junction of the A11 and A14, some of which were excavated in 1973 prior to the construction of the dual carriageways (the surviving ones of which comprise SM 27180). This alignment, together with further outlying barrows near Newmarket and Barton Mills, broadly correlates with course of the Roman road between Great Chesterford and Thetford. The barrows are indicative of a far earlier prehistoric trackway following this route (the Icknield Way) across the edge of the chalk escarpment.

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: 27178

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bray, S, Chippenham Park and Fen River Pipeline Archaeological Assessment, (1991)
Fox, C, Archaeology of the Cambridge Region, (1923), 30
Leaf, C, 'PCAS' in Two Bronze Age Tumuli, Chippenham, , Vol. 39, (1940), 30-34
group SMR number, 10325: Chippenham Barrow Group, (1991)
group SMR number, 7448: Chippenham Barrow Group, (1985)

End of official listing