The minor road leading south west out of the cheerfully named village of Slaughterford is very narrow and has to be driven with care. As the road rises you drive clear of the trees and at the top of the hill is a metal field gate on the left – park here.
The field was in crop but I managed to carefully make my way towards the Barrow along existing wheel tracks. The Barrow is easy to spot being covered in trees, not far into the field.
There appears to be 3 Barrows here – one large and two small.
The large Barrow is about 2.5 metres high and perhaps 30 metres across.
The smaller two (right next to large one) and about 1.5 metres high and 5 metres across.
On the other hand this could be one very large Barrow which has been cut through the middle at some point so giving the impression of separate Barrows? If so, the original Barrow would have been about 50 metres across and would have quite a site in days gone by.
Worth having a look when in the area. The tree covered Barrow (s) is easily seen from the field gate if you don't want to cross the field.
These aren't quite fieldnotes because I didn't see them! I was visiting the village I was born in (Colerne) and decided to have a quick look for the barrows, trying to remember where they were on the map (which I didn't have with me!). I must have got so close though!!
If heading from Colerne to Ford, turn into Thickwood Lane and go through the old bit of Thickwood. You'll come to a crossroads, go straight ahead along the narrow lane to Slaughterford. The barrows should be in the second field on your right.
I later learnt from my mother that my father had worked at Hall Farm (the farm near the crossroads) as a young man and knew the area well.
An earlier source of purejoy's folklore is 'Wiltshire: The topographical collections of John Aubrey', corrected and enlarged by J E Jackson (1862). He writes: "At the top of the wood at Colerne Park there is said to be a large hillock called 'The Dane's Tump' where tradition buries a Danish King."
'The History of Colerne' (1975 - no author) says that local tradition has connected them with the Danes and the large mound was a one time known as "The Danes Tump", where a Danish King was supposed to have been buried.
Bowl barrow and 2 other possible bowl barrows. Romano British pottery and coins have been found on the site Scheduled..
'A': ST 83547323; 'B': ST 83537321; 'C': ST 83527322 Tumuli (NR). (1)
Some time before 1945 A S Mellor visited and identified as Bronze Age a group of 3 circular mounds in Colerne Park. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to locate a "Roman camp" mentioned here by Aubrey in the 17th century.
In about 1945 W J Dowding (of Slaughterford Paper Mills) discovered Romano British sherds on the surface of the largest mound, known locally as "The Dane's Tump". He informed Mellor who revisited the site and found further Romano British sherds, was well as 2 bronze coins and bronze objects. Nothing was discovered on the other two mounds, but he did notice "many
irregularities in the surface of the ground near the site". In 1953 Mellor excavated the smallest mound but found nothing apart from 2 pieces of a red pot, charcoal and blackened earth.
The ditch of the largest mound was trenched and a Romano British "heap" (64 ft by 20 ft) discovered. It contained quantities of Romano British pottery (including Terra Sigillata), glass, iron and bronze objects, 33 coins (of late 1st to early 5th century date) and building material.
The third mound was also trenched down to the original ground level and as far as the centre. No dateable material was found. (2)
(A) ST 83547325: Bowl barrow, 24 paces in diameter, 9 ft high and surrounded by a large deep ditch. The mound is flat topped.
(B) ST 83537321: Bowl barrow, 12 paces in diameter and 3 ft high.
(C) ST 83517321: Bowl barrow, 8 paces in diameter and 2 1/2 ft high. (3)
Mounds surveyed at 1:2500 on AM. (4)
Of the three mounds, that at 'A' ST 83547323 is an apparently undisturbed ditched bowl barrow, as described, (3) and in good condition, its tree-covered surface is devoid of Romano British pottery. Local enquiry failed to verify the name 'Danes Tump'.
The mound at 'B' ST 83537321 is 0.8m high, ditchless, and shows signs of disturbance. Possibly a small bowl barrow.
At 'C' ST 83527322 is an irregularly-shaped ditchless mound 0.9m high, the slopes of which spill into the ditch of the large bowl barrow; it has been extensively dug-over. A very doubtful barrow.
An intensive search of the fresh ploughland surrounding these features failed to locate evidence of Roman building and/or domestic refuse. There seems to be a distinct possibility that these are not the mounds referred to by Mellor (2), and an association of this site with the Roman building (ST 87 SW 15) is unrealistic in view of the latters situation and distance away. 1:2500 survey transferred to PFD. (5)
I had read in 'The History of Colerne' (1975 - no author) of "three circular mounds, one large, with a surrounding ditch in Colerne Park". Colerne Park Nature Reserve is actually about 2 kms north east of Colerne village, and the barrows are near the lane that separates Colerne Park and Coombs Wood.
These definitely are Bronze Age barrows and are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The 'Magic' website confirms that they were confirmed in the schedule in 1981 as 'Wiltshire 835' and are now scheduled in the national monument register as '12316', and are described as "Three bowl barrows in Colerne park, 450m north of Keeper's Cottage".