Bell barrow in Graffridge Wood, 400m south east of Keepers Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015487

Date first listed: 13-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow in Graffridge Wood, 400m south east of Keepers Cottage
© 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 - 1015487 .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-Feb-2019 at 19:29:09.


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

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Knebworth

National Grid Reference: TL 21475 20868

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 1500-1100 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 bell barrow in Graffridge Wood survives as a substantial and impressive example of this rare class of monument. Although it may have been somewhat disturbed by excavation, valuable archaeological deposits, including funerary remains, will survive within the mound, berm and ditch and will provide evidence for the date, method of construction, duration of use and ritual beliefs of the barrow builders. Environmental evidence preserved within the same features will help to illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set. The monument is situated some 250m south east of a Bronze Age bowl barrow and a Roman burial mound, the subjects of a separate scheduling (27906), indicating the continuing ritual significance of the area from the prehistoric period.


The monument includes a substantial Bronze Age bell barrow situated in Graffridge Wood, 400m south east of Keepers Cottage. The circular barrow mound is c.25m in diameter and approximately 2.5m high. The berm (platform) on which the mound stands is some 31m wide, sloping slightly down to the encircling ditch. Upcast from this ditch would have been used in the construction of the mound. Although the ditch is partly infilled, it can still be traced as a shallow depression c.0.4m deep and 4m wide. The mound is rounded with a depression some 3m deep in the summit. While this may have resulted from a limited archaeological investigation, probably during the 19th century, no records of this have been traced. It is possible that this depression and a smaller one next to it were caused by the uprooting of trees.

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: 27907

Legacy System: RSM


Hearsay Report, Morris, J, Ordnance Survey Antiquity Model Record Card, (1958)

End of official listing