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Hangley Cleave

Round Barrow(s)

<b>Hangley Cleave</b>Posted by formicaantImage © Mike Rowland 18/03/10
Also known as:
  • Two Barrows

Nearest Town:South Molton (11km S)
OS Ref (GB):   SS746362 / Sheet: 180
Latitude:51° 6' 38.83" N
Longitude:   3° 47' 29.77" W

Added by Rhiannon

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<b>Hangley Cleave</b>Posted by formicaant <b>Hangley Cleave</b>Posted by formicaant <b>Hangley Cleave</b>Posted by formicaant


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I posted these photos last year as "The Two Barrows" before Exmoor was split between Devon and Somerset. I have now deleted that seperate post. Anyway the barrows lie to the east of the nearby Five Barrows group, actually nine in number.
The barrows I photographed are on opposite sides of a small road, the northern one is a fairly large bowl barrow. The southern one was hard to take pictures of as it is low and indistinct.
There are another two barrows nearby, slightly to the north and according to how they look on MAGIC these appear to be the actual Two Barrows. In the way of these things sometimes it is not easy to say which barrows are which purely from map sources, I will visit here soon again as there are other things I want to see nearby.
formicaant Posted by formicaant
23rd March 2010ce
Edited 23rd March 2010ce


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Eric Dauncey Tongue (doubtless a relation to Ruth, below) had an unpleasant experience at these barrows in 1908. He saw 'a crouching form like a rock with matted hair all over it and pale flat eyes' - 'the most terrifying thing he had ever seen.' When he spoke of the experience twenty years on he still emphasised its terrifying nature, although by this time he must have had some moments as he had become a District Commissioner and big game hunter in East Africa. He believed that what he had seen was a 'barrow guardian'.

In 'Somerset Folklore' by Ruth Tongue (!965).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
16th July 2004ce
Edited 17th April 2009ce


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Details of barrows on Pastscape

(SS 74753620 & SS 74863622) Two Barrows (NR) (SS74713631) Tumuli (NR) (One of two, the other in Devon, SS 73 NW 12) (1)
Exmoor No 16, SS 74713621, a bowl barrow 22 paces diameter and 2 ft. high.
Exmoor No 17, SS 74753620, a bowl barrow with OS trig pillar on top.
Exmoor No 18, SS 74863622, a bowl barrow 18 paces diameter and 1 ft. high, small hollow in centre. (2)
Grinsell's 16 and 18 are both truncated bowl barrows. 17 is a bowl barrow with a hollow in the centre. An excavation trench runs across it from SW to NE. Published survey 1/2500 revised. (3)
Exmoor 16, 17 and 18. Bowl barrows listed, details as Authy 2,among Two Barrows group. Exmoor 16 visited by Grinsell 23 May 1961, Exmoor 17 and 18 Visited April 1949. Named Twoburroughs in 1632. (4)
SS 74783622. A group of three barrows is situated about 482m above OD on the summit of the ridge between Hangley Cleave on the north and Fyldon Common on the south. The road from Kinsford Gate to Sandyway Cross crosses the southern part of the ridge and the Devon/Somerset County Boundary runs along the northern side of this minor road. The fairly level summit of the ridge is covered with rough grass and reeds; there are excellent views; southwards across to Dartmoor, westwards to Barnstaple Bay, north to the Chains ridge and eastwards to Dunkery Beacon.
SS 7470236210. Barrow A, nearest the road, is visible as a rather amorphous turf-covered earth and stone flat-topped mound about 21m NW/SE by 13m and 0.9m in maximum height. The SW side has been truncated by the boundary wall, its ditch and the road, so the barrow is not complete. There are at least three quarry holes in the interior of the barrow which suggest robbing, possibly for the wall. There in no evidence of a surrounding ditch to the barrow. The barrow was used as a marker for the County Boundary and the Exmoor Forest (5).
SS 74743 36208. Barrow B, the most apparent of the group, is evident as a mutilated earthen mound varying in diameter from about 18m NW/SE to 19.8m NE/SW and 2.1m in maximum height. The barrow has a central 'excavation' hollow , 2m in diameter and 0.4m deep. Spoil from this hollow has been dumped around the summit creating an irregular false top which obscures the original flat top which must have been about 1.7m high. As well as the central hollow an excavation trench, 2m wide and 0.8m deep, has been cut into the barrow from the WSW. A similar though less well defined linear hollow, 1.5m wide, 0.4m deep, through the east side suggests a continuation for this excavation across the barrow. An apparent backfilled trench, 1m wide and 0.2m deep, in the NNE may be no more than a path over the barrow. The trenches do not appear to have sectioned the ditch, which is visible as a band of reeds about 2.5m wide around most of the perimeter. The barrow has been used as a viewpoint and there is some erosion caused by walkers up its south side.
On the 1889 (6) and 1904 (7) Ordnance Survey maps a Triangulation Point is shown on the SE summit of the barrow although there is now no evidence of one as stated by authority 2.
SS 7485636225. Barrow C, the most easterly, is visible as a low earthen grass and reed-covered flat-topped mound varying in diameter from 15.5m NE/SW up to 16.5m E/W and 0.5m in maximum height. The southern half of the barrow is mainly covered by dense reeds. A small hollow, about 2m in diameter and 0.4m deep, near centre in the NW suggests it has been dug and the spoil spread around giving a rather uneven surface. There is no trace of an accompanying ditch, however probing revealed softer peat around the periphery suggesting that there was one which has now become completely silted.
Barrows A and C are clearly disc type barrows whilst B is distinctly of the flat-topped bowl type. The barrows are a Scheduled Monument: Somerset County No: 170. (7)
*Note: On the 1889 (5) and 1904 (6) editions of the Ordnance Survey maps the name Two Barrrows appears between barrows B and C. This has, unfortunately, given the name to the whole group which is a misnomer as it actually contains four barrows; A,B & C, as above, on the Somerset side of the boundary and a fourth barrow at SS 7463 3621 treated separately as SS 73 NW 12) on the Devon side. (5-9)
The barrows described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs as earthwork mounds either side of the Devon/Somerset county boundary. A fourth barrow (see NMR UID 35046) which lies in Devon has been recorded separately as a result of this, but is more than likely to be part of the same group (10).
NB. The Somerset HER has numbered the barrows individually. The HER numbers are as follows; barrow A; 33020, barrow B; 33018 and barrow C; 33019.
Chance Posted by Chance
16th December 2014ce
Edited 17th December 2014ce