Four round barrows 840m WSW of Swainstondown Gate


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020265

Date first listed: 06-Sep-1994

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Feb-2002


Ordnance survey map of Four round barrows 840m WSW of Swainstondown Gate
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Calbourne

National Grid Reference: SZ 43437 85773, SZ 43453 85743, SZ 43480 85743, SZ 43496 85766


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

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in 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 four round barrows 840m WSW of Swaintstondown Gate survive as earthworks which will retain archaeological information pertaining to their construction and use. In addition the old land surface sealed beneath the mounds and the fills of the encircling ditches are likely to contain environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the barrows were placed.


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


The monument, which lies within four areas of protection, is situated on the lower, northern slopes of Newbarn Down and includes four round barrows. The first protected area to the north west includes a barrow bisected by a modern boundary. The barrow mound is sub-circular in plan, approximately 20m by 15m in diameter and up to 0.6m in height. A further barrow to the south falls within the second area of protection and includes a mound up to 6m in diameter and 0.35m in height. The third protected area to the north east contains an additional barrow visible as an ovoid mound up to 10m in diameter east to west, 12m north to south and a maximum of 1m in height. It is bisected by a modern boundary. To the south east, the fourth area of protection contains a round barrow, which includes a mound 8.5m in diameter and 0.7m high. Although the mound of the north eastern barrow, which is bisected by a modern boundary, has been truncated on its eastern side by ploughing, there are still slight traces of a surrounding ditch to the south and east. Ditches, from which material was excavated for the construction of the barrows will also surround the mounds of the other barrows. These have become infilled over the years but will survive as buried features approximately 2m wide. Documentary sources record that in 1931 the two eastern barrows were partially excavated by H E Pritchett. Finds at the north eastern barrow included two cremations, one at the centre beneath the mound and a second deposited within an inverted urn which had been inserted into the mound. The urn was dated to the earlier Bronze Age and the excavator considered that the cremation was that of a young adult woman. All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33969

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, , Sherwin, , 'Proceedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc' in Procedings of the I.O.W. Nat History and Archaeological Soc, , Vol. 3, (1940), 182,204
Isle of Wight County Council, Record Number 415,
Isle of Wight County Council, Record Number 417,
Isle of Wight County Council, Record Number 4287, (2000)
Woodhouse, W., Ordnance Survey Record Card SZ 48 NW 16, (1955)

End of official listing