We followed this with a trip to its neighbour, Sharpe Howe, again Julian marks this on his map of the region in the TMA. Our initial disappointment of not being able to see Spell Howe immediately had been overcome when we actually did find it. How we hoped that Sharpe Howe would continue our jubilation.
Unfortunately the ancient Neolithic monument of sharpe Howe is now a farmers dumping ground with sacks of rubbish, bails of hay and farm equipment strewn around it. The mound looks sad and more akin to a rubbish pile than the once proud hill that it probably once was.
Sharp(e) Howe itself is a nice barrow in a reasonably well preserved state despite its flanking of trees. When I visited in September 2002 there was a large piece of agricultural equipment left next to it, in Feb 2003 it had become the storage place for bails of straw – it seems to me the barrow is lucky to have survived at all. Canon Greenwell writing in 1890 says that the barrow originally had a ‘conical form’, the top 6 feet having been removed ‘many years ago, but within living memory’.
I’m not sure about the state of the other mounds in this group although one at TA 051770 is still stands around a foot tall.
Further to what Fitz says there were in fact 8 barrows in this group that were excavated by Canon Greenwell – there were 2 to the south and one to the northeast of the close group of 5 barrows.
The barrow that Fitz mentions was called Sharp Howe by Greenwell but is now marked on the OS map as ‘Sharpe Howe’.
5 large barrows form a well defined cemetery.
The largest barrow is at the southern end of the group is 80 feet across and 8 feet high. This has been built with chalk slabs covered with a layer of earth and capped with chalk rubble. A grave at the centre of the barrow contained a contracted skeleton with a food vessel.