Enclosure and bowl barrow on Charnage Down, north west of Chaddenwick Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017699

Date first listed: 13-Oct-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Enclosure and bowl barrow on Charnage Down, north west of Chaddenwick Hill
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 18:28:39.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Mere

National Grid Reference: ST 84248 34322


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The bowl barrow incorporated in the earthworks of the enclosure on Charnage Down survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological remains providing evidence of Bronze Age ritual, environment and economy. Enclosures provide evidence of land use, agricultural practices and habitation from the prehistoric period onwards. They were constructed as stock pens, as protected areas for crop growing or for settlement, and their size and form may vary considerably according to their function. Their variation in form, longevity and their relationship to other monument clases, including field systems and linear boundary earthworks, provide information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices throughout the period of their use. Enclosures are central to understanding the development of the rural landscape and as such all well preserved examples are considered worthy of protection. Despite some damage to parts of its earthwork circuit, the enclosure on Charnage Down survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The incorporation of an earlier bowl barrow provides important evidence of the continuing veneration of obsolete funerary monuments in times of later and more intensive land use.


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


The monument includes a rectangular enclosure, the earthwork bank of which incorporates a bowl barrow, lying on the top of a hill on Charnage Down, north west of Chaddenwick Hill. The enclosure is formed by a bank and external ditch. The bank is extant, surviving up to 8m wide and 0.3m high on all sides except for a 30m length on its eastern side where it has been levelled. It measures a maximum of 55m by 48m (north west-south east) internally and encloses an area of about 0.4ha. The external ditch is not visible on the surface but will survive as a buried feature 4m wide. An entrance on the northern side has previously been recorded but cannot be confirmed on the ground. In the early 20th century objects of Roman date found on Mere Down were said to have been asociated with the enclosure. The barrow, incorporated in the bank on the south eastern corner of the enclosure, has an irregular mound, 14m in diameter and 1m high. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material for its construction was excavated. This has become infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature 2m wide. In the early 19th century the antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare noted irregularities containing pottery adjacent to the northern side of the enclosure. The location of this area of possible settlement cannot be confirmed. The enclosure lies within a field system, now levelled by cultivation and visible only on aerial photographs. The field system is not included in the scheduling. All fence posts and 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: 26869

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Colt Hoare, R, The Ancient History of Wiltshire: Volume I, (1812), 44
Grinsell, LV, The Victoria History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume V, (1957), 267

End of official listing