King's Barrow on King Tor, Hookney Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020012

Date first listed: 05-Jun-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Dec-2001


Ordnance survey map of King's Barrow on King Tor, Hookney Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: North Bovey

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 70923 81440


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

Reasons for Designation

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite partial excavation, King's Barrow round cairn survives well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and its environs during the prehistoric period. This cairn is one of a cluster of large cairns situated in prominent positions within this part of Dartmoor. It is considered that as a group they formed significant territorial markers.


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


The monument includes a round cairn known as King's Barrow situated on the summit of King Tor on Hookney Down, with extensive views in all directions. The cairn survives as a 21m diameter mound standing up to 2.3m high. A pit in the centre of the cairn is the result of a partial excavation in 1872 by Rev'd R Kirwan. This work revealed no artefacts and the spoil from the excavation was cast up around the upper edge of the cairn giving it an impressive appearance. A 4m wide and 0.15m deep ditch is visible around the southern side of the cairn and survives elsewhere as a buried feature. This ditch represents a quarry from which material was excavated during the construction of the cairn.

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: 34421

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW21, (1985)

End of official listing