Found some of the stones from this barrow and can confirm the continued presence of the erected "Capping Stone" said to cover the five cambers from this long barrow. I spoke to the current owner of 'Stonelands', the property listed on the Pastscape index, who told me that the area had been redeveloped and their stones had now been incorporated into the newer property next door called 'Leystones', and that I should talk to Mr.Cuss about the stone in his garden. Although I got no response on ringing the bell at 'Leystones', I did walk past their stones on the driveway up to the house and I could see Mr. Cuss's stone through the hedge. I took pictures from different angels and went on to ring Mr.Cuss's bell.
Couldn’t put an age on Mr.Cuss but I reckon he had a telegram from Liz on his mantelpiece. He was the very same Mr.Cuss mentioned in the 1965 excavation, a former gardener at Fromefield House. He repeated his statement and "still had not found any re-interred bones". I asked to take some pictures of his stone, but he refused. It was a very hot day and I think he wanted to get inside for his tea. He was kind but I didn't linger and bid him good day.
The stone on this property seems to be right next to a hedge and behind a poly-tunnel. The site looked safe and loved, and in a strange way the poly-tunnel acted a bit like the long barrow. I couldn't find the other stone mentioned, in the garden of 'Ormonde', but I left the site having felt I had achieved the object and gained an insight into the sort of stone I was searching for, a tangible glimpse of the craftsmanship and finish this tribe of Neolithic people left behind.
The Somerset Historic Environment Record site gives a map of the developed area with an image of the long barrow superimposed on the new street plan.
I set off optimistically after these stones, hoping that things so sizeable would be easily spotted. I was wrong. It didn't help that I didn't bring the notes below with me.
It would certainly have been a good spot - high on the hill overlooking the river valley below. But now it's a sprawling housing estate which has lost its shine. It was muggy and uncomfortable, and people do give you funny looks when you're staring in their gardens in a cul-de-sac. I suppose I could have asked for help but I could just imagine the blank expressions so didn't have the heart. Perhaps the stones are still here somewhere. If you're ever in Frome please take a look. I want them to be here. I don't want to think that people would get rid of their stones - you'd think they'd make a nice landscaping feature. This was disappointing.
Site of a Neolithic chambered tomb excavated in 1965 when human remains and Windmill Hill pottery were found.
[ST 7808 4890] STANDING STONE [OE] (Human bones found A.D. 1819) (1)
A large, chambered barrow, was completely levelled when the garden of Fromefield House was extended in, or about, 1820. Five
chambers, containing skeletons and pottery, were revealed, also a large stone which was reported as 'covering them'. The bones were left in situ and the stone, some 5 ft. high, erected over the site. (a)
Neolithic 'A' sherds from this Long Barrow are in Taunton Museum. (4)
Standing Stone - scheduled. (5)
The stone, which is 6 ft. x 3 ft. x 1 1/2 ft. stands, where published, in a thickly overgrown piece of ground owned by Mr. Cuss, formerly a gardener at Fromefield House: he has not found any re-interred bones. There is no trace of a mound.
Two stones at ST 7817 4897, in the garden of 'Stonelands', are thought to come from this barrow; both are standing, one 5 ft. and the other 2 ft. high. (See GP. AO/64/268/2). In the garden of 'Ormonde', at ST 7818 4897, is a prostrate stone measuring 6 ft. x 2 ft. x 1 1/4 ft. Surveyed at 1/2500. (6)
Two cuttings made in 1965 revealed that the mound was constructed of limestone slabs. Bases of six stoneholes were found, human bones, and some pottery. The remaining capstone, placed in a vertical position in 1820, was removed. (7)
The 1965 excavation was made for DOE prior to the levelling of the site and the building of a housing estate. The area had been much disturbed by the 1820 landscape gardening, but slight remains of a barrow mound were detected around the reset marker stone. Excavation across this mound and at the marker stone position discovered: (a) Six shallow holes, apparently randomly spaced, which could not be satisfactorily interpreted; (b) an aggregation of limestone slabs, which could have represented a collapsed peristalith or revetment wall, or might have been merely mound material; (c) fragmentary human bones representing at least 15 individuals, though most of the major bones were missing; (d) a few sherds of Windmill Hill pottery. It was concluded that the monument had been a stone-chambered tomb typologically similar to West Kennet. (8)
.. I would not like to say that the stones [at Orchardleigh ] are in their original position. Such stones have been sometimes moved and erected as monoliths. We have one example of this in the immediate neighbourhood. It may not be generally known, but in the garden of Fromefield House, little more than a mile distant from this spot, there stands a stone of large size, and had it not been for the brief note in the diary of a young girl written at the beginning of the last century, the history of this stone would have been lost.
The facts of the case are briefly as follows: During the laying out of the garden a large mound was removed, and at the base of it was found the tone in question covering five walled compartments containing skeletons and pottery. The bones were allowed to remain intact, but the ground was levelled and the large cover-stone erected upright over the site.
From the Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society for 1911 (v57).
When the early 19th century inhabitants of Fromefield House decided they wanted their garden extending, they had to level a barrow that was inconsiderately in their way. The process wasn't well recorded but apparently five skeletons were discovered amongst limestone slabs (which were no doubt once the chambers of the barrow). Excavations in the 1960s found traces of up to 15 people interred at the site. Sherds of Neolithic pottery were also found – these are apparently now in Taunton Museum. The area has now been built on: the site of the barrow is now located under 14 Leystone Close.
The longbarrow might have been destroyed but you can still see some of the stones - or can you? At one point, one of the larger stones was put upright – about 6 foot tall, and was under a beech tree by the drive leading to Leystones. Two other stones were in the garden of 'Stonelands' (5ft and 2ft) and one 6ft long in the garden of 'Ormonde'. ST781489.