The Giant's Chair bell barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015936

Date first listed: 30-Nov-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of The Giant's Chair bell barrow
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 14:20:55.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Downton

National Grid Reference: SU 16275 22699


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 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 known as the Giant's Chair is a well preserved example of its class. Despite the infilling of the surrounding ditch the barrow exhibits a largely original profile and will contain archaeological remains providing information about Bronze Age burial traditions, economy and environment.


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


The monument includes a bell barrow, lying on the end of a prominent chalk spur overlooking the valley of the River Avon to the south east. The barrow has a mound 28m in diameter and 2.5m high. The outer edge of a ditch, visible at a distance of 12m from the edge of the mound on its northern side, indicates that the mound and surrounding ditch are separated by a berm. The remainder of the ditch, from which material to construct the mound was quarried, will survive as a buried feature. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

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: 26811

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing