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Manton Down

Long Barrow (Destroyed)


The sorry tale of the long barrow on Manton Down; from The Times, April 29th, 1953.
An inspector from the Ancient Monuments Department of the Ministry of Works is to visit Manton Down, near Malborough, Wiltshire, to-morrow to examine the site of the 4,000-year-old Long Barrow, which has been destroyed.

Mrs. Todd, wife of Mr. G.E. Todd, a farmer and racehorse trainer who lives at Manton House and owns 1,000 acres of the surrounding countryside, to-day confirmed that the barrow was on her husband's property - in a cattle enclosure about a quarter of a mile from the house. She informed your Correspondent that the damage had apparently been done last year when the farm was let to Mr. J. E. King, a farmer who now lives at Tuffley Park, Gloucester. The enclosure was then in a bad state, overgrown with thorn bushes and infested with rabbits.

Mr. King told your Correspondent to-day that he had had the bushes removed by a bulldozer last summer. This was to make the rough land ready for ploughing, since he intended to sow it with corn. He said that the Wiltshire agricultural executive committee at Trowbridge had known of his intention; in fact, they had had the enclosure measured for him and were going to give him a grant to plough the land. He said he saw several large stones, but they were too big for his men to move. He said he was not told of any burial mound on the land.

Mrs. Todd also told your Correspondent that neither she nor her husband knew anything about the barrow. When he bought the property in 1947 he was not given or told of any documents relating to the barrow.

A spokesman in the Ancient Monuments Department of the Ministry of Works, which today received a report from Mr. N. Thomas, curator of Devizes Museum, said that "a most serious view" was taken of the destruction. He said there was no reason for ignorance on the part of a property owner that there was a scheduled monument on his land. Various steps were taken to let an owner know that a monument had been scheduled. He was given notice of the fact and received a map showing where the monument was.

Manton Long Barrow was scheduled as an ancient monument in 1922.
The next day an article in the paper included this:"Mr G.E.Todd, of Manton House.. said later that the inspector had advised him to replace the earth round a group of large sarsen stones which surround a solitary elder bush at one end of the barrow.."

It makes you wonder if any stones remain to be seen at the site. I have taken the grid reference (SU14787135) and alternative name from 'Long Barrows of the Cotswolds and Surrounding Areas' by Timothy Darvill (2004).
Having said that, I spotted this thread
which mentions that the stones were moved as recently as 1996? and could even be in Fyfield now (quite a way from their source).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th September 2006ce
Edited 24th September 2006ce

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