Four bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020854

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-2003


Ordnance survey map of Four bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: South Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Kimberley

National Grid Reference: TG 08125 05492


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, 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 or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for 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 bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of 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 bowl barrows in Forehoe Wood survive well, despite removal of part of one of the mounds by later quarrying. Archaeological information concerning their construction, the manner and duration of their use, the relationship between the barrows, and also the local environment in the past, will be contained in the barrow mounds and in the buried soils preserved beneath them. The importance of the individual barrows is enhanced by their survival as a group and by their later use as a moot.

Moots were open air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction. The meeting place could take several forms, including natural features such as hilltops, trees or rocks, or man made features. The use of barrows for the purpose was not uncommon. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period, between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Initially they were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument, and the earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features.


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


The monument includes four bowl barrows, spaced at roughly equal distances on a north east-south west alignment, in Forehoe Wood.

The barrows are visible as earthen mounds, three of which retain their original circular form. The first of them, at the north east end of the alignment, stands to a height of about 1m and is flat topped, with a diameter of approximately 23m; the second, about 26m to the south west is approximately 2m high and 20m in diameter; the third, about 30m from the second, is approximately 1m high, with a maximum diameter north-south of around 21m, although about a third of the mound on the western side has been cut away by a later quarry pit. The fourth barrow at the south western end of the alignment, which would have been about 23m from the original western side of the third barrow, is approximately 1.5m high and 17m in diameter.

In the medieval period the four barrows (howes) were the moot or meeting place of the court of Forehoe Hundred, which took its name from them. The flattened top of the north easternmost barrow may have been a deliberate modification of the original mound for this purpose.

All modern 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30620

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, (1805), 374
NMR No. TG00NE3; field investigator's comment, (1973)

End of official listing