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King Barrow

Long Barrow

Also known as:
  • Warminster 14

Nearest Town:Warminster (3km W)
OS Ref (GB):   ST897444 / Sheet: 184
Latitude:51° 11' 53.38" N
Longitude:   2° 8' 50.75" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Details of site on Pastscape

A Neolithic long barrow situated 100 metres north of Bishopstrow House. The barrow was designated Warminster 14 by Grinsell (1957) and survives as an earthwork orientated north-north-west/south-south-east. It is ovoid in plan and measures 70 metres long, 22 metres wide and about 3 metres high. Excavations by W. Cunnington and R Colt Hoare located no primary burials but secondary burials. The secondary inhumations were orientated southwest to northeast. One was accompanied by grave goods including a sword. The presence of grave goods indicated an early or mid Saxon date for the burial. These burials had disturbed an urned cremation which also may be Saxon in date.

King Barrow (TI) Long Barrow (GT) ST 8976445 (1)
King Barrow, Warminster, is a long barrow, 206 feet long, 56 feet wide and 15 feet high, oriented NNW/SSE. Excavated on two occasions by Hoare and Cunnington but they do not seem to have found the primary burial. Secondary burials comprised an inurned cremation which had been disturbed by three inhumation burials, one with an iron sword; probably all pagan Saxon. A good deal of the mound had been carted away in Hoare's time. (2-3)
King Barrow is a well preserved long barrow averaging 4 metres high on the northeast. It has been constructed along the tip of a southwest facing escarpment. There are no traces of side ditches. Surveyed at 1/2500 (4)
The secondary burials are listed in Meaney's gazetteer of early Anglo-Saxon burial sites (5)
Originally recorded as Warminster 14 by Goddard (5). Additional description by Cunnington. (6).
The secondary inhumations have been included within the gazeteer of early Anglo-Saxon burials. (7)
ST 37. King Barrow. Crematorium deposits at the east end. Comprised of a charcoal layer with calcined human and animal bones, and coarse pottery sherds covered by a heap of clay and earth. The mound comprised chalk rubble. Pottery, polished stone axe fragments amd animal bones were located on the Old Land Surface. (8)
Long barrow surveyed at 1/500 (see SPTA project archive). (9)
A long barrow situated 100 metres north of Bishopstrow House. The barrow is orientated north-north-west/south-south-east and is ovoid in plan. It is 70 metres long, 22 metres wide and about 3 metres high. (10)

( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1960
( 2) edited by R B Pugh and Elizabeth Crittall 1957 A history of Wiltshire: volume 1, part 1 The Victoria history of the counties of England L.V.Grinsell Page(s)145
( 3) by Sir Richard Colt Hoare 1821 The ancient history of Wiltshire (R. Colt Hoare) Page(s)72
( 4) Field Investigators Comments F1 NVQ 12-MAY-1967
( 5) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine - E.H Goddard 38, 1913-4 Page(s)340
( 6) The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine - M.E Cunnington 38, 1913-4 Page(s)404
( 7) by Audrey Meaney 1964 A gazetteer of early Anglo-Saxon burial sites Page(s)269
( 8) British Museum occasional papers - 52, 1992. Non-Megalithic Long Barrows and Allied Structures in British Neolithic, 25 (I. Kinnes)
( 9) Field Investigators Comments - D.Field, H. Riley/20-JAN-1995/RCHME: SPTA Project
( 10) Scheduled Monument Notification - 11-FEB-1992
Chance Posted by Chance
8th March 2012ce

King Barrow is a very large tumulus, 200ft long and 15 wide, about 200 yards north of the village of Boreham, which on being thrown open by a section to the centre, and then to right and left, in 1800, yielded only intermingled pieces of bones of birds and beasts, boars' tusks, stags' horns, charred wood, fragments of the coarsest pottery, and the skeleton of a horse. A second excavation disclosed three human skeletons, on the thigh of one of which was an iron sword, with the blade 18" long, 2 wide and single edged: lying near was a part of a rude urn, but prettily ornamented. These remains being supposed to be but a subsequent deposit, at great expense and toil, a third cutting was made at a deeper level, and black ashes, burnt wood and bones, and bits of earthenware were exposed, but the primary interments remained undiscovered.
If you get an undercurrent of unimpressedness at the repeated excavations, you'd probably be right: see what John Daniell wrote about Cop Heap.

From 'The History of Warminster' by John J Daniell (1879).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th March 2006ce