Round barrow cemetery on Shapwick Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018852

Date first listed: 27-Mar-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Round barrow cemetery on Shapwick Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Uplyme

National Grid Reference: SY 30342 93031, SY 30410 93121


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The barrows at Shapwick Hill may originally have been part of a larger round barrow cemetery, and, despite having been reduced by cultivation, four of the barrows survive as recognisable mounds whilst the remains of two more survive below ground as evidenced by the clear soil marks of their surrounding ditches. The barrows will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and landscape in which they were built. The barrows were clearly visible in the Anglo-Saxon period and were consequently utilised as a boundary marker.


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


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a group of six Bronze Age bowl barrows situated on Shapwick Hill in a commanding position overlooking the surrounding countryside. Four of the barrows have surviving earth mounds whilst the remaining two have been recognised in aerial photographs by the presence of soil marks representing their surrounding quarry ditches. The barrows once formed part of a larger round barrow cemetery, of which six mounds are known to have been visible in the Anglo-Saxon period. A seventh barrow, since destroyed, has been recorded a short distance to the west of the monument. Three barrow mounds close to the east side of the Trinity Hill Road form a tightly spaced east-west linear group. All are low and flat-topped in appearance varying between 6.3m and 7.7m in diameter and between 0.5m and 0.9m in height with no more than 4m between any of the barrow mounds. The central barrow of the linear group has evidence for a surrounding quarry ditch about 2m wide. All of the barrows in this group have disturbance to their mounds which may have resulted from 19th century antiquarian investigations or perhaps later activities. To the north east of the linear group is a further group of three barrows, more widely spaced and on a north east-south west alignment. The central barrow of this group has a plough reduced mound about 0.5m in height and 19m in diameter; it is surrounded by a circular quarry ditch which appears as a distinctive soil mark on aerial photographs. To either side of this barrow are two circular soil marks recorded on aerial photographs. Both soil marks represent the surrounding quarry ditches of two barrows, one 40m to the south west, and one 80m to the north east, of the barrow with the surviving mound. The barrow group as a whole has been identified in an Anglo-Saxon charter boundary of AD 938 where it is recorded as `enlipsexberges' - the lonely six barrows. Whether the six barrows of scheduling are the same as those of the charter is not known for certain.

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: 29662

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hooke, D, Pre-Conquest Charter Boundaries of Devon and Cornwall, (1994), 130
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, (1983), 43
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, (1983), 43
NMR 2134, Hampton, J, (1983)

End of official listing