Hengi-form monument 480m south of Dairy Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015586

Date first listed: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hengi-form monument 480m south of Dairy Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Renhold

National Grid Reference: TL1115750754


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

Reasons for Designation

Hengi-form monuments are ritual or ceremonial centres closely connected with burial and dating to the Middle and Late Neolithic periods (3000-2000 BC). They were constructed as flat, roughly circular enclosures comprising an area of ground typically between 5m and 20m across enclosed by a ditch with external bank. One entrance or two opposing entrances through the earthwork provided access to the interior of the monument which often contained pits, cremation pits, postholes and graves. Cremation pits and postholes were often present around the perimeter of the site. They are distinguished from standard henges by their small size and their more specific association with burial. Finds from the ditches and interiors of hengi-form monuments provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Most examples are situated on gravel terraces or on hill slopes. They sometimes occur in pairs or groups of three in close proximity. Hengi- form monuments are very rare nationally with only 24 examples known, although this is likely to be an underestimate in view of the difficulties in recognition. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their rarity, all hengi-form monuments are considered to be of national importance.

Despite the damage caused by ploughing, the hengi-form monument to the south of Dairy Farm will retain significant archaeological information. The area within the ditch will contain buried deposits relating to funerary activities, material spread from the former bank and evidence of any original timber structures. The fills of the buried ditch will retain artifactual evidence indicating both the date of construction and the duration of use, and will contain valuable environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which it was set. The gravel terraces of the Great River Ouse are known to have provided the focus for burial and ritual activities in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age. This monument forms part of a particularly interesting group including the buried remains of the henge and barrows located nearby, and the larger complex of mortuary monuments to the WSW. The study of these sites will provide significant information regarding the continuity and evolution of prehistoric funerary practices in the area, and contribute to research into the distribution of prehistoric settlement.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a hengi-form monument located in a low-lying arable field on the north side of the Gadsey Brook - a tributary which flows into the River Great Ouse some 700m to the south east. Although the hengi-form monument is no longer visible on the ground, it can clearly be identified as a cropmark and soil mark from the air, and has been recorded by aerial photography on numerous occasions since 1970. The most clearly visible component of the site is a circular ditch, c.24m in diameter, which is broken by a single entranceway on the south side, facing towards the course of the Ouse. The entrance measures approximately 5m across, flanked to either side by broadened ditch terminals. Slight traces of a concentric internal feature, perhaps a ditch, have also been noted from the aerial record. Recent archaeological studies of the gravel terraces in the Great Ouse Valley have provided considerable evidence for Late Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement and ritual practises. A similar monument (slightly larger and therefore termed a `henge') lies c.300m to the ENE, in close proximity to the buried remains of two bowl barrows. The remains of two further barrows lie approximately 140m to the NNE. This group, which is the subject of separate schedulings, is considered to be an outlying aspect of a larger cropmark complex (also scheduled separately) located some 1.6km to the WSW and containing a variety of mortuary enclosures and other funerary monuments. The monument, south of Dairy Farm is comparable with another hengi-form monument, also identified from cropmark evidence, at Goldington on the outskirts of Bedford some 3.5km to the west. This was excavated in 1988 to reveal an inner ring of post holes, cremation burials in collared urns and evidence of food consumption on the site.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 27181

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Clarke, R, Dawson, M, 'Chiltern Archaeology: Recent Work' in The Prehistoric and Romano-British landscape in Bedfordshire, (1995), 57
Mustoe, R S, 'Bedfordshire Archaeology' in Salvage Excavation of a Neolithic and Bronze Site at Goldington, , Vol. 18, (1988), 1-5
Woodward, P J, 'Arch J' in Bronze Age Settlement Patterns in the Great Ouse Valley, , Vol. 135, (1978), 32-56
CUCAP, BYB 34, (1970)
MPP Schedule entries 20745-9, Wild, S, Neolithic and Bronze Age Mortuary Complex North West of Octagon Farm, (1993)
Oblique monochrome AP, CUCAP, BIC 31, (1972)
Oblique monochrome AP, CUCAP, BJF 65, (1972)
Oblique monochrome AP, CUCAP, BNJ 69, (1973)
Royal Commission, TL 1150/3, (1970)
Simco, A, Renhold Cropmarks, (1987)
Simco, A, Renhold Cropmarks, (1987)
Vertical colour AP, HSL UK 76 31 9/221-12, (1976)

End of official listing