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Somerset Historic Environment Record

34185

Site Name: Barrow, Battle Gore, Williton
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Round barrow cemetery at Battle Gore immediately west of North Road [No:33704]
Civil Parish: Williton
Part of:
PRN 35378Battlegore barrow cemetery, north of Williton
Comprises:
PRN 30238Excavation (1931), Battlegore barrow cemetery, Williton
Grid Ref: ST 0740 4166 (ST 04 SE)
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Image: Image of HER 34185 - Photo by Somerset County Council (1995)
  HER 34185 - Photo by Somerset County Council (1995)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

One of the three round barrows (PRNs 34185 34186 34187) and probable long barrow (PRN 34188) in cemetery PRN 35378. Barrow 34 paces diameter and 4ft high (Williton 1). {1}

Excavated by H St George Gray in 1931 (PRN 30238). Primary internment removed by central shaft method beforehand (early medieval potsherd found). 20ft east of centre, in a small cist 1.5ft deep, was secondary cremation of woman or youth in a large urn with oak cover. Flint implements also found. Between this cremation and the east edge of the mound was a post-hole containing charcoal. Neolithic pottery found also. Finds in Taunton Museum. {2}

The barrow was surrounded by a ditch, now filled, but the surrounding earthworks are modern drainage. A nearby stone (ST 0745 4168) appeared to be natural. {3}

Also known as "Grabbarrows" - grave barrows. {5}

Round barrow in fair condition. Height 1m and 18m diameter. Slightly irregular in shape due to excavations. To the N are two banks partly encircling the barrow 0.5m high and 10m wide. {6}

The site is in good condition under grass and is never ploughed. {10}

A large round barrow and three stone slabs lie to the south of a stream at Poultry Bridge, Williton, at ST 0740 4166. The site is part of a larger group of monuments which includes two further round barrows and two ring ditches, the latter now visible on air photographs. The complex is known as Battlegore because of its historical associations with Viking or Danish raids on the west Somerset coast. The site lies at the foot of the northwest edge of the Quantock Hills, west of the Doniford Stream, in basin with hills or high ground to the north, southwest, west and east, at an altitude of 30m OD. The barrow and stones were recorded at 1:500 and 1:50 scales, using EDM and graphical methods, during the EH archaeological survey of the Quantock Hills AONB. The barrow comprises a rather ovoid mound with a flat top which measures 33m east-west by 26m north-west. There is a berm towards the bottom of the mound and very slight traces of a ditch on the south and east sides. The west side of the mound has been cut through by a later field boundary. The top of the mound has a narrow rectangular trench, 10m by 2.5m and 0.3m deep, cut into it. This is probably the remains of the excavation undertaken by H St George Gray in 1931 (PRN 30238). A curving bank, 5m wide and 0.8m high to the north of the barrow is the remains of a field boundary marked on the tithe map of 1841. Several shallow channels which run across the field are the remains of field drains. A very slight mound 6.5m in diameter and 0.25m high lies 20m to the east of the barrow. Gray noted five of these mounds in this area and excavated one of them, making no conclusions except to compare them those seen around apple trees in an orchard. He found three flint flakes and some slag but the context of these finds is not clear. They could well be small 'satellite' cairns such as those found close to some of the large barrows on the Quantock Hills. Three stones lie to the southeast of the barrow by the field boundary which here takes the form of a thick hedge, planted on a bank with a ditch on its north side. Two of the stones lie in a hollow, the remains of Gray's 1931 excavation trench, the third lies against the hedge bank. The largest is 3.1m long, 1.2m wide and 0.7m thick. The stone which lies on the hedge is 1.6m long, 0.75m wide and 0.5m thick. The smallest stone is somewhat obscured by vegetation; it measures 1m by 0.5m and is approximately 0.3m thick. Two slight mounds immediately to the west and east of the stones are most likely to be the result of Gray's excavation. The stones may well represent the collapsed remains of a portal dolmen tomb, as suggested by Gray in 1931. The location of the site, locally in a small basin, and, more widely, in the valley between the Quantock Hills and Exmoor is significant in this context. {11}

References:

1 Mention - Grinsell, LV. Somerset barrows, part 1: West and South. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  113 (1969), Supplement (page 41)
2 Excavation report - Gray, H St G. Battlegore, Williton. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  77 (1931), 7-36 (page 10-11, 19 and 22-31) Copy available in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 04 SE 21 (1965) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 2045.
4 Mention - Helbaek, H. Early crops in Southern England. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society  18 (1952), 194-233 (page 227)
5 Mention - Grinsell, LV. Somerset barrows, part 1: West and South. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History  113 (1969), Supplement (page 17)
6 Detailed records - Various. Department of the Environment and English Heritage (1980s) Location: HER collections.
7 Aerial photographs - 3.39.195-196. (July 1979) Location: Historic Environment Service slide collection at Somerset Heritage Centre.
8 Aerial photographs - DAP YR15-21. (1995) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
9 Aerial photographs - DAP ABS 13-14. (22/7/1997) Location: HER digital information, prints in archive at Somerset Heritage Centre.
10 Detailed records - Graham, A [Alan]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (21/4/1988) Location: HER files.
11 Data transfer - National Monuments Record (English Heritage). Record ID: ST 04 SE 21 (2008)
12 Measured plan - English Heritage. 1:500 plan of ST 04 SE 21. (2004) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 36136.
13 Measured plan - English Heritage. 1:200 plan of ST 04 SE 140. (2004) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 36137.
14 Measured plan - English Heritage. 1:50 plan and elevation of ST 04 SE 140. (2004) Location: HER files. HER digital source: 36138.

Record created in May 1984

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