The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Swanborough Tump

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Despite the unpromising (unprehistoric) start I still felt intrigued, and later found an article about it in the Wilts.ANHM volume 94 (2001).

The authors Semple and Langlands describe the Tump as a long low earthwork running NE-SW, on a low natural rise next to the Pewsey-Manningford Bruce road, and close to the boundary of the hundred of Swanborough.

The earliest mention of the wood it which it stands is 1840, so perhaps it was previously on open ground. It's mutilated condition apparently has nothing to do with the work of antiquarians (for once) - perhaps it's partly the work of the trees and the road - they certainly don't make it any easier to decipher. The authors even suggest it could have been two mounds once.

It's obviously connected with stories about the Anglo Saxons, and the name itself comes from Swan + Beorh = barrow/mound of the common people. It was a meeting place for a Hundred. The road that runs by it has been shown to have existed since at least AD987 (Pewsey was an important settlement in the 9th century too).

However, could it be older? The prehistoric mounds at Mutlow and Knightlow were reused as later meeting places, so could this be the case here?

The authors weren't making any firm conclusions, but hinted that the way the mound butts up against the road rather suggests the road cuts through the mound. Which suggests the mound is older than the road (but by how much?).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
7th January 2004ce

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