Itford Hill style settlement and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field at New Barn Down, 850m north west of Myrtle Grove Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017446

Date first listed: 04-Oct-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jun-1997


Ordnance survey map of Itford Hill style settlement and an Anglo-Saxon barrow field at New Barn Down, 850m north west of Myrtle Grove Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Arun (District Authority)

Parish: Angmering

County: West Sussex

District: Arun (District Authority)

Parish: Patching

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 08441 09088


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Reasons for Designation

Itford Hill style settlements are small domestic settlements of one to three households, usually covering an area of between 1ha and 3ha, comprising a series of small banked compounds set back to back. The compounds are frequently associated with tracks and hollow ways which link the settlements to field systems, and round barrow cemeteries are often nearby. The settlements date to the Late Bronze Age (tenth to eighth centuries BC). Excavated examples have shown that the compounds usually contain circular wooden buildings varying in diameter from 3m to 8m, with entrance porches. Associated with these structures would have been a series of working areas and fenced compounds; small ponds have also been found. Finds, including loomweights and carbonised grain, provide evidence for the practice of a mixed farming economy. Itford Hill style settlements are found in southern England, principally in the chalk downland of Sussex where Itford Hill itself is located. They are a rare monument type, with less than 20 examples known nationally.

Barrow fields are groups of between five and 300 closely-spaced burial mounds, dating to the early medieval period. The usually circular mounds, some of which are surrounded by an encircling ditch, were constructed of earth and rubble and covered one or more inhumation burials. These were deposited in east-west aligned, rectangular graves cut into the underlying bedrock. Cremation burials, sometimes deposited in pottery urns, have also been found. Many burials were furnished with accompanying grave goods, including jewellery and weapons, and, at two sites, wooden ships were discovered within large mounds. Most barrow fields were in use during the pagan Anglo-Saxon period between the sixth and seventh centuries AD, although barrows dating to the fifth and eighth centuries AD have also been found. The distribution of barrow fields is concentrated within south eastern England, particularly in prominent locations on the Kent and Sussex Downs. However, one Viking barrow field dating to the late ninth century AD is known in Derbyshire, and both barrow fields containing ship burials are located near river estuaries in Suffolk. Barrow fields are a rare monument type, with only around 40 examples known nationally. They provide important and otherwise rare archaeological information about the social structure, technological development and economic organisation of the people who constructed and used them. All positively identified examples with significant surviving remains are considered worthy of protection. Despite disturbance by modern cultivation, the Itford Hill style settlement and Anglo-Saxon barrow field on New Barn Down survive comparatively well, and part excavation has shown that the monument will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the human use of this area of downland over a period of c.5000 years. The settlement lies c.740m to the south west of a similar Late Bronze Age settlement on Cock Hill, and Harrow Hill flint mine and Martin Down style enclosure, and a dispersed round barrow cemetery are situated nearby. These monuments are broadly contemporary, and their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between settlement, exchange and burial practices during the prehistoric period.


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The monument includes an Itford Hill style settlement, part of its associated field system and a later barrow field dating to the early medieval period, situated on the southern slope of a chalk hill which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The Itford Hill style settlement, most of which has been levelled by modern ploughing, survives mainly in the form of buried features visible as crop marks on aerial photographs. The focus of the settlement lies in the northern part of the monument and is represented by a sub-oval, east-west aligned enclosure measuring c.67m by c.40m. The enclosure was partly excavated in 1933 when its northern side was found to have been bounded by a bank and surrounding ditch, and its southern side by a low bank and stockade. Traces of six wooden round houses were discovered within the interior, along with fragments of pottery which have been dated to the Late Bronze Age (tenth to eighth centuries BC). Leading from the north western corner of the enclosure is a trackway of the same period which runs westwards for a distance of c.150m before turning southwards downslope, where it is visible on aerial photographs for a further c.400m. Two associated sub-oval enclosures lie to the north of the main enclosure, and the bank and ditch of the most northerly of these survive in the form of low earthworks, partly disturbed to the north west by a modern track. In the areas between and around the enclosures are traces of some of the small, sub-square fields of the farmland which supported the settlement. The presence of an earlier settlement dating to the Neolithic period (3500-2000 BC) is indicated by sherds of Windmill Hill style pottery and a flint axe head found during the investigations within a small pit situated c.130m south of the main Bronze Age enclosure. The later barrow field overlies the Bronze Age fields within the eastern part of the monument. Records suggest the presence of at least 16 circular burial mounds, now levelled by modern ploughing. Two of these underwent archaeological investigation in 1933 and were found to have been constructed over rectangular, east-west aligned graves containing extended inhumation burials dating to the Middle Anglo-Saxon period (AD 600-800). One of the individuals was identified as a young adult male buried with a scramasax knife. Further, unmarked graves and associated features can be expected to survive in the areas between and around the barrows. The modern surface of the road and all telegraph poles and fences which cross the monument 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29273

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Curwen, E C, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in A LBA Farm And A NL Pit Dwelling On New Barn Down, Clapham, (1934), 136-170
Curwen, E C, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in A LBA Farm And A NL Pit Dwelling On New Barn Down, Clapham, (1934), 136-170

End of official listing