Henge 70m north east of Cross Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019078

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Henge 70m north east of Cross Cottages
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Colchester (District Authority)

Parish: Boxted

National Grid Reference: TM 00876 32717


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

Reasons for Designation

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval- shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national importance.

Although the henge 70m north east of Cross Cottages is no longer visible on the ground, archaeological deposits will survive as buried features and will contain evidence relating to the dating of its construction, period of use and the changing ritual beliefs and practices of its builders. Environmental evidence preserved in the buried ground surfaces and in the fills of the ditch and internal features may illustrate the nature of the landscape in which the henge was set. Although several other cropmark sites have been identified as henges in the area, not all of these have the distinctive wide ditches present at Boxted. A comparison of these sites will provide rare and valuable information concerning the pattern of Neolithic rituals and settlement in the region.


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


The monument includes the buried remains of a Neolithic henge situated some 2km south of the River Stour and to the north of dwellings at Boxted Cross. The henge is no longer visible on the ground, although its infilled ditches and central pit-like features can be seen from the air as cropmarks. These cropmarks (areas of enhanced crop growth resulting from higher levels of moisture retained by the underlying archaeological features) have been recorded on numerous aerial photographs, some dating back to the 1950s. First identified as a henge on morphological grounds in 1975, the monument has since been targeted by aerial survey and showed up particularly well in June 1980 and August 1983 when photographed by the Air Photo Unit of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and local aerial photographer Mrs Ida McMaster. The henge is defined by a broad circular, penannular ditch, infilled and buried, with two opposing entrances to the north and south. The external diameter of the ditched enclosure is some 40m; the ditch itself is 5m wide, giving an internal diameter of some 30m. The henge would originally have had an external bank, and although this has long since been reduced by ploughing, a 5m wide margin is included in the scheduling in order to protect surviving archaeological traces. Several large pit-like features are clearly visible as cropmarks within the area delimited by the ditch and bank, and these are considered to represent features related to the ritual use of the enclosure.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 32414

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Holgate, R, Essex c.4000-1500 BC, (1996), 15-25
Hedges, J D, 'CBA Res. Rep.' in The Neolithic in Essex, , Vol. 34, (1980), 26-39
McMaster, I, 'Colchester Arch. Group Annual Bulletin' in Plan Of Boxted Henge, , Vol. 18, (1975), p15
McMaster, I, 'Colchester Arch. Group Annual Bulletin' in A Crop-Mark At Boxted, , Vol. Vol.26, (1983), 33-6
Air Photographic Evidence, Harding, AF and Lee, GE, Henge Monuments and Related Sites of Great Britain, (1987)
McMaster, I, Nos.13 and 28, (1980)
NMP Plot at 1:10 000, Strachan, D, TM03SW, (1997)
RAF, 58/514 pt 1 5092:3, (1950)
RCHM(E), TM0032/4/255; TM0132/8/264-5, (1980)

End of official listing