Two bell barrows and a bowl barrow 370m east of Clover Farm: part of a group of round barrows west of Cranmore railway station


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016304

Date first listed: 10-Jun-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Two bell barrows and a bowl barrow 370m east of Clover Farm: part of a group of round barrows west of Cranmore railway station
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: Cranmore

National Grid Reference: ST 65847 42744


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.

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. Over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows have been recorded nationally, occurring across most of lowland Britain.

Despite some plough erosion and disturbance caused by early excavations, the two bell barrows west of Cranmore railway station are well preserved and visually impressive examples of their class.

The bowl barrow is less well preserved but it too, will include archaeological remains containing information about Bronze Age beliefs, economy and environment.


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


The monument includes two bell barrows and a bowl barrow situated on the southern ridge of a shallow dry valley that runs north west-south east. The barrows are the most northerly of a possible group of five barrows, the other two occupy land south of the railway line.

The westernmost bell barrow has a mound 30m in diameter and 2m high, in the centre of which is a 6m wide hollow, most probably the result of an excavation carried out by the Rev J Skinner in 1827. This is recorded as having revealed scattered pieces of calcined bone. Surrounding the mound is a berm approximately 4m wide. This has a gently sloping profile in places, but elsewhere, most noticeably on the south side, has a terraced appearance, presumably caused by past ploughing. Although no longer visible on the surface a ditch surrounds both mound and berm and will survive as a buried feature approximately 4m wide. Traces of an exterior bank have been recorded in the past but are no longer visible.

The second bell barrow has a mound 25m in diameter and 2m high, surrounding which is a gently sloping berm 4m wide. There are traces of disturbance in the centre of the mound and an old excavation trench runs the full length of the west side of the mound. Surrounding both mound and berm is a flat bottomed ditch 4m wide and about 0.5m deep. Surrounding the ditch is an exterior bank 4.5m wide and approximately 0.3m high. This survives best on the east side but is visible on all sides apart from the south, where it has been ploughed out. The barrow is thought to have been excavated four times: in 1797, 1827, 1869 and 1922. In 1827 the Rev J Skinner found a primary cremation, as well as an unburnt jawbone and armbone presumably from a secondary inhumation, and in 1869 Mr J W Fowler found, probably from this barrow, a cremation accompanied by a grooved bronze dagger as well as the remains of a second smaller dagger and several flint implements.

The bowl barrow is the most easterly of the group and has a mound 11m in diameter and 0.25m high. Although no longer visible on the surface, a ditch surrounds the mound and will survive as a buried feature 2m wide.

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: 29781

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L, 'Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural Hist Soc' in Somerset Barrows Part II, , Vol. 115, (1971), 103

End of official listing