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Temple Bottom

Long Barrow (Destroyed)


The "Mutilated Kistvaen" lies in the centre of the valley known as Temple Bottom, and south-east of Temple Farm, conjectured to be so called from the preceptory of Knights Templars established there in the reign of Henry II. It occupies the corner of a field, very near some detached farm buildings on the estate of Rockley. Sir Richard Hoare spoke of it in his time as "the mutilated remains of a stone barrow, having a kistvaen at the end of it;" and said "it is the finest example we have yet found of this species of interment, excepting the one in Clatford Bottom." (North Wilts, page 42.) I fear Sir Richard would not say the same of it now.

When I first saw it some twenty years ago, it presented little more than the appearance of a heap of stones: indeed a great many loose stones were scattered round the large and more prominent ones, and it was choked with briars and brambles. Unpromising however as was its exterior, I had a great desire to examine its interior, and having received the ready permission of the owner of the property (the same liberal gentleman who so kindly allows us to examine the barrows at Rockley on Thursday next, Mr. William Tanner), I enlisted the help of my friends, Mr. Lukis (then my colleague as one of the Secretaries of this Society) and Mr. Spicer, Rector of Byfleet, in Surrey, and on June 12th, 1861, we proceeded to excavate the stone chamber.

With regard to the formation of the exterior part of it, whether it was originally covered with one or more roofing slabs, and whether it had a covered passage leading to it, we were unable to form any decided opinion, owing to the confusion of stones and its generally dilapidated condition: but we found a sepulchral chamber, guarded by a circle of upright stones, some of them in position; and on the floor of this chamber indications of a layer of charcoal, calcined human bones, and fragments of coarse pottery: we found also several unburnt bones, portions of a human skull and teeth; some of the bones of a hand and foot; and above all a well-formed and perfect bone chisel (now in our Museum at Devizes), of which a sketch is annexed.

We then examined the narrow space between the two parallel upright stones, and at B found unburnt bones of a hand and foot and fragments of pottery, and at C portions of a human skull and teeth, and a stone muller or rubber. The orientation of this chamber was probably east and west.
On British Stone and Earthworks on the Marlborough Downs by the Rev. A C Smith, in the Wilts Arch Nat Hist Magazine, v19, 1881.

Something is amiss here, because the very precise grid reference on Pastscape is not to the SE of Temple Farm at all. But is perhaps the reverend misremembering - he is talking about something that happened 20 years ago. But then again, he knew the area very well.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th May 2013ce
Edited 13th May 2013ce

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