Sites such as these - isolated behind barbed wire - are so frustrating. They really are. Nevertheless this small group of two well preserved bell barrows and a particularly well defined, large disc barrow [plus a couple of denuded bowl barrows swallowed up in the undergrowth] is well worth a short visit, particularly in tandem with a sojourn at the nearby Giant's Grave long barrow upon Milton Hill.
From the Pewsey road, take the public byway to the right of Down Farm (opposite the byway for Milton Farm, that is), despite the twin 'keep out' signs flanking the track, these, it would appear clearly intended to intimidate. The barrows are visible beyond the field to your left, as are numerous other examples spread across the landscape. Turn left at the 'T' junction and the barrows are a little way down this track, again on the left, just past a turning.
As I approach I spy a metal detector 'metal detecting' (strangely enough) in the field to the west, this occupied by a large number of big 'porkers' and their huts. Nothing more interesting than a horde of authentic 0.303 rifle shells to report, however.....
Despite the wire and myriad signs lending a somewhat uncomfortable vibe - similar to the great cemetery upon Normanton Down - all is quiet here and the sky evocative as the sun begins the final phase of its apparently inexorable journey to the horizon. Following suite, I must begin my own unavoidable return to the car to sleep - as all creatures must... but I am happy I came.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 130 - Scale 1:25000
Salisbury & Stonehenge inc. Wilton & Market Lavington.
Visited this barrow group after seeing the Giants Grave Long Barrow, on Milton Hill.
I travelled up the B Road from Pewsey to Everleigh. Pewsey hill is very step and Pewsey's White Horse looks down upon the valley from up here. It has numerous drovers' tracks running up it from ancient times and the whole area is criss-crossed with byways and bridleways. All the traffic stopped using these routes when the military moved onto the Plain a hundred or so years ago. The tank training station at Tidworth lies just a few miles to the south and the area is accessible but very churned up.
This barrow group is on the edge of this training range, hence the Star of David signs to show it is an ancient monument and not to be dug into or driven over in a tank. The military have made great strides to prevent more damage to some of the ancient sites on the Plain, but some were already destroyed before they found their wisdom.
Once you have reached the top of Pewsey, travel along the flat plateau until you reach the track marked for Milton Hill Farm on the right and Down Farm on the left (SU 185570). If you intend to visit the Giants Grave Long Barrow, you would turn right for Milton Hill. I would suggest you find somewhere to park around the back of the farm and walk down the track to the barrow group.
The Everleigh barrows group are classified as the five barrow cluster at SU 184561.
I have included a map based on the SMR numbering for clarity.
Prefix the numbers with SU15NE i.e. SU15NE655, for search at http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/smr/
Bowl Barrow (654) - Excavated by Hoare c1800 and again opened by Thurnam who found it to be unproductive. 13.5m diam x 0.3m high.
Bowl Barrow (655) - Flattened
Disc Barrow (656) - Excavated by Thurnam in the 19th century, who found it unproductive.
Mound Overall diam 59m, mound 0.3m high, ditch 0.7m deep, bank 0.5m high.
Bell Barrow (657) - Opened by Thurnam who found a primary cremation which was probably male and an intrusive extended, undated skeleton. Mound 81ft x 11ft, berm 18ft, ditch 15ft x 2.5ft. It is well-preserved and grass covered.
Dr. Thurnam writes, "The most eastern of the bell-shaped barrows is upwards of thirteen feet in elevation; and in this, in a slight cist scooped out of the chalk, was a large deposit of burnt bones, probably those of a man, unaccompanied by urn, weapons, or ornaments; and proving, as Sir Richard Hoare often found, that " we must not judge of the contents by the form of a barrow. Fronti nulla fides." The upper part had been used in later times for a secondary interment; the skeleton of a tall man being met with, about a foot from the summit, laid at full length and with the head to the south. The arms were close to the sides of the skeleton; the thigh bones measured nineteen and a half inches. The skull has an ovoid form, the crowns of the teeth are flatly eroded; and, notwithstanding the discovery of a few fragments of coarse Roman pottery close by, the interment may be attributed to the Anglo-Saxon period."
Bell Barrow (658) - Opened by Thurnam who found a primary cremation with a flat axe-dagger. Mound Overall dima 50m x 3.2m high, with a 0.5m deep ditch.
Of this barrow Dr. Thurnam writes, "The more western barrow is not quite so high as the eastern. At the depth of about eleven and a half feet, was a heap of burnt bones, apparently those of a man; and with these a small bronze blade three inches in length, retaining one of the rivets by which it had been attached to its handle, and altogether similar to that figured at page 329 (W.A.M. Vol 6). Adjoining the burnt bones, was a pile of grey ashes mixed with wood charcoal."
A short distance north-east of the barrows is a square earthwork enclosure of possibly iron age date. 800 metres north-cast of the barrows (SU 187567) is the Down Farm group of eight barrows, including a badly damaged bell-barrow. Although these barrows were dug by Colt Hoare around 1800, there is some doubt as to which barrows contained what objects. Most seem to have contained cremation burials, one with a bronze awl, shale beads and perhaps an incense cup.
A copy of John Thurnam's 1860 notes, page 332, from the Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine Vol 6 is available to download in pdf format here
A Bronze Age round barrow cemetery on West Everleigh Down. The barrow cemetery comprises five barrows; two bell barrows, two bowl barrows and a disc barrow. Four of the barrows were excavated by J Thurnham between 1853 and 1857. Primary cremations were recorded in the two bell barrows. One of the bell barrows was also found to contain an intrusive Roman or Saxon inhumation. No structures or finds were recorded in the disc barrow and one of the bowl barrows. The other bowl barrow was now excavated. Ordnance Survey field investigations in April 1973 found that four of the barrows survived as earthworks, three of which were well preserved. One had been erased by ploughing.
(NB. The barrows originally recorded as part of this record have now been recorded individually, please see child records for details)
(SU 18425602) Everleigh Barrows (LB). (1)
A barrow cemetery comprising five bowl, bell and disc barrows. Excavations carried out by Thurnham located a single primary cremation in two of the barrows (Everleigh 1 and 2) one accompanied by grave goods. One of these barrows also had an intrusive Roman or Early Medieval burial. The remaining barrows proved to be unproductive. (2-3)
Four of the barrows survive as earthworks, the two bell barrows (Monument HOB UID 918546 - SU 15 NE 84 and HOB UID 918557 - SU 15 NE 85) and disc barrow (HOB UID 918569 -SU 15 NE 86) are well preserved. One of the bowl barrows (HOB UID 918572 - SU 15 NE 87) is in a poor condition. The other bowl barrow (HOB UID 918578 - SU 15 NE 88) has been erased by ploughing. (4)
The original barrow numbers were originally recorded by Goddard. (5)
Additional reference. (6)
Everleigh Barrows: A nucleated group of four barrows excavated in the 19th century. The two bell barrows produced cremations, this disc and bowl barrows were unproductive. (7)
( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" Prov
( 2) edited by R B Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall 1957 A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1 The Victoria history of the counties of England Page(s)174, 209
( 3) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine 6 (1859-60) Page(s)338
( 4) Field Investigators Comments F1 JWS 03-APR-1973
( 5) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine 38 (1913-14) Page(s)252
( 6) by Audrey Meaney 1964 A gazetteer of early Anglo-Saxon burial sites Page(s)267
( 7) Scheduled Monument Notification 04-JAN-1990