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


Priddy Nine Barrows

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery

<b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Wells (6km SSE)
OS Ref (GB):   ST538517 / Sheets: 182, 183
Latitude:51° 15' 43.3" N
Longitude:   2° 39' 43.95" W

Added by Rhiannon

Discussion Topics0 discussions
Start a topic

Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
<b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by postman <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by moss <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by moss <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by moss <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Priddy Nine Barrows</b>Posted by vulcan


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
Tis but a short walk from the B3135 to Ashen hill barrows, and about the same again to the Nine barrows. The first two we come to are separated from the other seven by a wall and over a hundred yards, one is quite low and the other has suffered at the hands of time two large scoops taken from it's interior.
Popping over the wall, the next barrow reached is a very low barrow compared to the others, barely a couple of feet high, the next one is taller. I move along the line this way and that, the barrows vary in height. The last two are the most interesting, the penultimate barrow has a ditch round it, possibly a bell barrow or something. The final barrow is right at the top of North Hill, it might even be the biggest barrow, and someone has built a not unattractive stone circle on it's summit, pilfering stones from the adjacent wall, as any welsh farmer will tell you, that is how it's done.
Off to one side away from the line of barrows is one more, so in all taking them all (Ashen Hill)into account there are eighteen barrows up here, it is an astonishing place, every bit as interesting as the line of henges and massively more visitable.
Come here!
postman Posted by postman
28th December 2019ce

[visited 28/11/04] This is really only half a barrow cluster, there being another line of barrows (Ashen Hill) 1/2 a mile to the North. One thing I noticed when up here, besides the fact its cold on the edge of the mendips in late November, is you can't actually see the levels from here. In fact they are a touch oddly placed imo.

I presume the sight from the Priddy Circles to the North would have been unimpeded 3-4 thousand years ago and this lovely linear cemetary would have visible shining white on the horizon.

Access is across a few fields, but you can see these beauties from a fair way off in most directions (except North).
juamei Posted by juamei
11th December 2004ce
Edited 11th December 2004ce


Add folklore Add folklore
I wonder if you can throw any light on the following experience I had some 12 or 14 years ago? I had taken my family on Mendip Top, somewhere near Castle of Comfort, and we were picnicking, having boiled our kettle with pine chips, I remember, when a roughish man, driving a rougher horse, attached to a vehicle, half cart, half trap, harness mainly rope, made me feel a foot taller by suddenly asking, 'Would you like to rent a couple of hundred acres of shooting?'

I was a town dweller then, and renting that enormous-sounding acreage of shooting associated itself in my mind with house parties, keepers, and beaters and 'bags.' But I remember the description or specification of this 200 acres included 'They do say there be a king of the Romans buried there, buried in a golden coffin.' What do you know of this, or have you unearthed it? Is it popular legend? I cannot believe the individual who uttered it originated the story.

Yours faithfully, E.A. Davies, Portbury.
In the Western Daily Press, 22nd August 1936.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
15th June 2023ce

Apparently a golden coffin is said to be buried in one of the many barrows in the parish of Priddy.

Is the mystery about which barrow part of the story? Mr Grinsell mentions it on p31 of 'Barrow Treasure, in Fact, Tradition, and Legislation', in Folklore, Vol. 78, No. 1. (Spring, 1967), pp. 1-38.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th June 2007ce
Edited 15th June 2023ce


Add miscellaneous Add miscellaneous
The article here in the Archaeological Journal, v16 (1859) (in the Rev. Harry M Scarth's Account of the Investigation of Barrows), contains details of Skinner's speed-archaeology at the Nine Barrows. Time Team had nothing on Skinner you know. He knew how to get things done.

I always like tales of the artifacts found, so much more instantly appealing than layers of unusual coloured earth and ashes: perhaps I'm as bad as the Reverend S. on the quiet. We hear of Barrow Number Two:
The cavity [of the cist] was nearly filled with burnt bones, and covered with a flat stone; in it were found four amber beads in excellent preservation, and a fifth somewhat in the form of a heart, which broke in pieces on being handled. Part of a bronze spear or arrowhead was also found, much corroded, and a ring of the same metal. The appearance of decayed wood on the blade seemed to indicate that it had been enclosed in a sheath. Not far from the cist was found a small oval cup of pottery, 4 inches long, 3 wide, and 2 1/2 deep in the interior, the outside embossed with a number of projecting knobs [..]

The amber beads were of fine rich red, or ruby colour, highly polished, and transparent when held up to the light; a small blue opaque glass bead was found with them, perforated; only one of the amber beads had a hole made through it; the others were bored on one side, probably for the admission of a pin.
He describes eight barrows being dug, then "There was a ninth barrow in this line, but stated to have been removed, in order to supply materials for a wall in the vicinity."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th June 2010ce
Edited 11th June 2010ce

Should anyone be in the area; a standing stone was recorded at Priddy close to the wall of St.Lawrence Church at ST 528513 standing 0.7 m above ground, (much weathered) also stones at ST510524 and SO595238. There is a tumulus nearby, just off Nine Barrows Lane.
Proceedings of Somerset Arch. Soc; Vol; 1984
moss Posted by moss
7th July 2006ce

I wasn't that impressed when I read that with the help of four labourers and his personal servant, Reverend John Skinner dug eight of the 'Priddy Nine Barrows' in a week in September 1815. I guess he wasn't the only one doing speed tombrobbing at the time. But you'd think a Reverend might have more respect for the burial mounds of the dead.

(spotted in 'Excavations at Camerton' by WJ Wedlake, 1958)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th August 2005ce
Edited 17th August 2005ce

Bronze Age barrow cemetery of seven barrows in Priddy parish (PRNs 23952 23953 23954 23955 23956 23957 23958) and two further ones in Chewton Mendip parish (PRNs 23243 23244 ). Comprise Tratman's T328-T336 and Grinsell's Priddy 28-34 and Chewton Mendip 13-14. See individual PRNs for individual descriptions. There is another possible barrow to the SW (PRN 24008). {1}

Wick's concluded that this chain of barrows had been wrongly named and the name should apply to the group to the N on Ashen Hill (PRNs 23813 23814 23815 23816 23817 23818 23819 23820). {2}

This was challenged by Grinsell who examined the available documentary evidence and revealed that this S group had been consistently known as Nine Barrows since 1296 and was often mentioned in several medieval and later surveys because the Chewton Mendip-Priddy parish boundary passes through them. {3}

Group of seven barrows in approx NW-SE alignment with two detached. All under pasture and standing 1.2-1.5m high. Prominent position and in good condition. Scheduling revised 1992. {6}

1 Personal communication - Dennison, E SCPD 29.08.85
2 Mention - Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological. Nat. History. Soc. Wicks, A.T 1952 "Priddy Barrows: an error..." vol 97, 185-6
3 Mention - Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological. Nat. History. Soc. Grinsell, L.V 1982 "Priddy Nine Barrows...correction... vol 126, 103-4
4 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1982 ST55SW75 SCPD
5 Detailed records - HBMC Field Monument Wardens report SCPD
6 Correspondence - HBMC to SCC 22 Jan 1992

Record created by:
Ed Dennison in August 1985

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2003

With thanks to the Somerset Museums Service for the link to this information.
jimit Posted by jimit
14th November 2003ce


Add a link Add a link

Somerset Historic Environment Record

jimit Posted by jimit
14th November 2003ce