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Mersea Mount

Round Barrow(s)


So sue me. I admit it, this is Roman. But it's so rare to find a Roman round barrow. And the record on Magic says "It has been suggested that they are the graves of native British aristocrats who chose to perpetuate aspects of Iron Age burial practice." This one (being in East Anglia) might be as early as the first decades of the Roman occupation. It's like an example of 'when in Rome' behaviour (or old habits die hard, if you want another phrase).

The following is from the Gentleman's Magazine for June 1840, p114.
In reading an account of Essex, I find the following: "The Borough, or rather Barrow Hills, on the north side of the Black Water Bay, were considerable in number. These tumuli are supposed to have been raised indiscriminately over the bodies of the Danes and Saxons that fell in the battles occasioned by the frequent landing of the former in this part of the coast*. The lands on which the Barrow hills stood were completely inclosed from the sea in 1807, and the whole are now levelled, ONE EXCEPTED."

This Barrow I heard was going to be cleared away for manure. I made a point of visiting it under an idea that it might be proved a Roman one; ==when I arrived at the spot, I found it to be a bowl barrow, about fourteen yards diameter, and about six or seven feet high, and rather more than half of it cut away, and what surprises me, not a single urn, bone, or ashes, nor any mark to be found; -- perhaps the barrows being mostly under water during the tide may account for the disappearance of bones, &c. if there were any placed; = or rather that the Danes and Saxons were not so careful as the Romans in preserving the remains of their friends.

I met one of the old inhabitants who lived in the parish more than forty years; he remembered the number of barrows being destroyed, and said, not a single bone or urn was ever found in them.
J. A. Repton reports.

Perhaps this barrow isn't the exact one mentioned (can the sea have come in this far? I suppose it's more than possible). But it's certainly one of those being talked of in this area.

*this sounds like a local explanation? and one so convincing that Mr Repton seems to abandon his own theory about the barrows being Roman.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th May 2007ce
Edited 12th May 2007ce

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