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Marden Henge (and Hatfield Barrow)



From 'The Ancient History of Wiltshire' by Sir Richard Colt Hoare - with an excerpt from his 1809 journal, giving more details about the downfall of the barrow. Silbury pokers be warned.
The enormous tumulus.. called HATFIELD BARROW, is situated on the East side of the area; it is of a circular form, and has a deep and wide ditch around it, which in winter is nearly full of water, although the soil consists of a greenish sand.* From having been some time in tillage, the height is probably decreased some feet; its elevation about the floor of the barrow (viz. the original soil) is at present twenty two feet and a half..

We began our operations by making a large square opening in the centre, but the tumulus being composed of sand, which continually slipped down, we afterwards carried our section in the form of an inverted cone. When at the depth of about twenty two feet on the east side of the section, and eighteen on the west side, we came to the bottom of the barrow, but from the heavy masses of sand that still continued to slip down, several days elapsed before we could clear the space of about 23 by 24ft of the floor.

... but alas! notwithstanding all our energy and exertions, we were doomed to remain in ignorance respecting the original destination of this gigantic barrow; and fortunately had not (added to our disappointment [sic?]) to regret the loss of several of our labourers, who most providentially escaped an untimely end by having been called off from their work by Mr Cunnington, at a time when the soil of the barrow appeared sound, but proved otherwise by falling in very shortly after the men had quitted their labours...

On revisiting this ground in the autumn of the year 1818, I had the unexpected mortification to find, that the great barrow had been completely levelled to the ground, and no signs remained of its previous existence.
Mortification indeed.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st September 2005ce
Edited 11th September 2012ce

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