Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019106

Date first listed: 27-Nov-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Thurrock (Unitary Authority)

National Grid Reference: TQ 60312 83362


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

Reasons for Designation

Earthen barrows are the most visually spectacular survivals of a wide variety of funerary monuments in Britain dating to the Roman period. Constructed as steep-sided conical mounds, usually of considerable size and occasionally with an encircling bank or ditch, they covered one or more burials, generally believed to be those of high-ranking individuals. The burials were mainly cremations, although inhumations have been recorded, and were often deposited with accompanying grave goods in chambers or cists constructed of wood, tile or stone sealed beneath the barrow mound. Occasionally the mound appears to have been built directly over a funeral pyre. The barrows usually occur singly, although they can be grouped into "cemeteries" of up to ten examples. They are sited in a variety of locations but often occur near Roman roads. A small number of barrows were of particularly elaborate construction, with masonry revetment walls or radial internal walls. Roman barrows are rare nationally, with less than 150 recorded examples, and are generally restricted to lowland England with the majority in East Anglia. The earliest examples date to the first decades of the Roman occupation and occur mainly within this East Anglian concentration. It has been suggested that they are the graves of native British aristocrats who chose to perpetuate aspects of Iron Age burial practice. The majority of the barrows were constructed in the early second century AD but by the end of that century the fashion for barrow building appears to have ended. Occasionally the barrows were re-used when secondary Anglo-Saxon burials were dug into the mound. Many barrows were subjected to cursory investigation by antiquarians in the 19th century and, as little investigation to modern standards has taken place, they remain generally poorly understood. As a rare monument type which exhibits a wide diversity of burial tradition all Roman barrows, unless significantly damaged, are identified as nationally important.

The Roman barrow 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall is extremely well preserved, remarkably so in a region which contains very few upstanding barrows from either the Roman or earlier prehistoric periods. Apart from the small area excavated in the 1950s (which served to demonstrate the date of the monument) the structure of the barrow remains largely intact. The principal burial and other subsequent interments (a common feature of barrows of this kind) are expected to remain undisturbed within the mound. It will provide valuable evidence for the nature of the funeral rituals employed, the status of the individual for whom the barrow was originally constructed and the duration of its use as a funerary monument. The mound will retain evidence for the manner of its construction and may overlie indications of preceding activity. The original ground surface sealed beneath the mound, together with the silts buried within the surrounding ditch, may also contain environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape at the time of the barrow's construction.


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


The monument includes a Roman burial mound, or barrow, located some 260m north east of South Ockendon Hall, on a terrace of fairly high ground on the western slope of the Mar Dyke river valley. It originally stood as one of three such barrows sited along the valley side at intervals of about 500m apart. The other two barrows have long since been destroyed, although one was excavated prior to destruction and found to date to the late second century AD. The mound is oval in plan with a rounded profile rising to a flat summit at a height of about 5m. It has a maximum diameter of 50m at the base where it is surrounded by a largely buried ditch, visible as a slight depression measuring up to 10m in width. A single trench excavated across the ditch and into the edge of the mound in 1957 yielded 17 sherds of Roman pottery, indicating that this barrow was also constructed in the second century. The interior of the mound, including the central burial, was not disturbed.

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: 32426

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1923), 143
Barton, K J, 'The Thurrock Historical Society Journal' in A Romano-British Burial Mound Known As The Mount, At S Ockendon, , Vol. 6, (1961), 54-57
Colour prints; frames 1 to 14, Tyler, S, MPP Film 14, (1999)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey, TQ 68 SW 02, (1957)

End of official listing