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Badbury Rings Barrows

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery

<b>Badbury Rings Barrows</b>Posted by A R CaneImage © A R Cane
Also known as:
  • The Three Kings
  • Monument No. 209534
  • Badbury Barrow

Nearest Town:Wimborne Minster (7km ESE)
OS Ref (GB):   ST958029 / Sheet: 195
Latitude:50° 49' 30.16" N
Longitude:   2° 3' 34.69" W

Added by greywether


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Fieldnotes

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I spent my lunch break strolling round the Bronze Age parts of the British Museum today and came home determined to look up the Badbury stone in Grinsell. It's a bit confusing as he doesn't use the name the Three Kings at any point, but the barrows in question are probably what he calls Shapwick 5, 6a and 6b (6a having yielded the stone). But although the Museum information says the barrow was destroyed, Grinsell puts it down at 9 feet high and I suspect it has not been destroyed since. Anyway here's his marvellous description:

"...nearly levelled 1845, but removal of the centre was watched by JHA [J H Austen]. About three inhumations, probably primary, two with food-vessels and one with an ornamented handled pot resembling those of Cornish type; up to 15 cremations (perhaps more), a few possibly contemporary with the inhumations, the majority clearly secondary and a few with E/MBA [early to middle Bronze Age] collared urns of a latish type; as far as can now be ascertained, none was LBA [late Bronze Age]. The barrow consisted of a central cairn of local sandstone blocks enclosed in a ring of flints, which was bordered by a massive wall of sandstone 30 feet diameter, outside of which was a ring of chalk about 15 feet wide, which must have originally covered the mound. The interments were probably all in the central cairn. In the centre according to Durden (not in the surrounding wall as often stated) was the well-known large slab of sandstone which was decorated with carvings of daggers and axes, the former of type similar to those from Stonehenge, conjectured to be of Mycenean type.


from "Dorset Barrows", 1959.
UncleRob Posted by UncleRob
17th November 2008ce
Edited 23rd June 2019ce

Badbury Rings Barrow Cemetery - 3.4.2004

Three well preserved barrows, in a line, just to the west of the hill fort (next to the track to the main car park). Like three big jelly mounds of earth! Compared to all sorts of degraded and scrubby barrows I had just visited in Cornwall, these are almost like picture perfect barrows.

Very easy to find as you need to drive past them to get to the main car park, or you will walk past them if you walk into the National Trust land from the main entrance.
pure joy Posted by pure joy
11th April 2004ce

Folklore

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According to Shapwick inhabitant Stephen's (now defunct) website, the mounds here - or perhaps rather their high-status occupants - are known as the Three Kings. Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
26th February 2004ce
Edited 6th January 2005ce

Miscellaneous

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Details of Badbury Barrow and stone on Pastscape

(ST 9602) The 'Badbury Barrow', which yielded remarkable finds when destroyed in 1845, was situated near Badbury Rings (ST 90 SE 45). Under the barrow mound, which was some 60 feet in diameter and 9 feet high, a central cairn of sandstone blocks was enclosed in a ring of flints bordered by a circular sandstone wall 30 feet in diameter, Within the cairn were at least three inhumations, apparently primary, two of them with food-vessels and one with an ornamental handled pot. Also probably in the cairn were at least fifteen cremations, a few perhaps primary, but most of them secondary, some with collared urns. At the centre, a huge slab of sandstone weighing half a ton was decorated with cup marks and carvings of daggers and axes similar to those at Stonehenge.
Opening another barrow in the same field, J.H. Austen found a primary cremation in a bucket urn with four lugs, in a charcoal
filled cist. (For possible sitings of these barrows see ST 90 SW 14 and ST 90 SE 52). (1-4)
A report on an opened tumulus one mile south of Badbury Rings bears many similarities with the feature recorded by authorities 1-4, and is probably the same barrow but seen by authority 5 at an earlier stage of its destruction. The barrow was 8 feet high, 225 feet in circumference and was opened for the purpose of obtaining flints. At 12 feet in from the outer edge, a circular wall of sandstone blocks, 3 feet high, was encountered, 'laid in a rude manner'. Within this was a fill of flints (of which 120 cartloads were wheeled away) shelving down towards the centre of the barrow. The nucleus consisted of chalk and 'mould', below which were 5 cists. Two secondary internments were noted. (The account of the barrow was communicated to the author by Dr Wake-Smart who compares the barrow to the tomb of Aepytus observed by Homer in Arcadia. Warne (auth 3) in his account of the Badbury barrow notes that Wake-Smart makes exactly the same comment concerning the Badbury barrow. There can be little doubt that authorities 3 and 5 are therefore refering to the same barrow).
Only 3 of the 10 or 11 urns discovered in 1845 have survived, but these indicate a Middle Bronze Age date. The carvings on a kerb-stone represent bronze weapons and cup-marks.

The decorated surface of this stone was detached from its block and is now in the British Museum. (7)
Full description of the pottery and carved kerb-stone. (8)
Chance Posted by Chance
4th April 2016ce
Edited 23rd June 2019ce

Details of barrows on Pastscape

(Centred ST 961030) Tumuli (NR) (three shown). (1) A group of round barrows W of Badbury Rings:
'A' ST 96040300. Bowl barrow, 60ft diameter and 3ft high immediately adjacent to the Romano-British settlement (ST 90 SE 39) (RCHM No 50, Grinsell's Shapwick No 11, Crawford's mound 'S').
'B' ST 96060304. Possible barrow consisting of an oval-shaped mound 30ft by 40ft and 1 foot high damaged by modern tracks and cut by the side ditch of Roman Road (RR 4c) (RCHM no 51, Grinsell's Shapwick No 10, Crawford's mound 'T').
'C' ST 96100311. Bowl barrow, 30ft diameter and 1 1/2ft high. (RCHM No 52, Grinsell's Shapwick No 9, Crawford's mound 'K').
'D' ST 96200310. Bowl barrow, 40ft diameter and 3ft high immediately within the outer rampart of Badbury Rings. (RCHM No 55; Grinsells Shapwick No 15; Crawford's mound V)
'E' ST 96200294. Crawford's probable barrow 'W' partly covered by the ramparts of Badbury Rings. (Not mentioned by RCHM or Grinsell). (2-4)
Barrows 'A' to 'E' were field investigated in 1954.
A faint unsurveyable ditch surrounding Barrow 'D' was visible in all quadrants except the W when it was overlain by the outer rampart of Badbury Rings. Barrow 'E' consisted of a semi-circular mound, 15.0m N-S and 9.0m E-W with a maximum height of 1.0m. The unusual shape was thought to be due to quarrying for material during construction of Badbury Rings. The evidence suggested that the mound was the remains of a Bronze Age bowl barrow. (5)
Barrow `E' surveyed by RCHME in April 1993. As described by authority 5. Located on W side of middle rampart, some 30m S of southern entrance to barbican. E side has been cut by the outer lip of the rampart ditch. Some quarrying has taken place on the W side. (6)
Chance Posted by Chance
4th April 2016ce