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CHER Number:07456
Type of record:Monument
Name:"The Beacons" Bronze Age barrow

Summary - not yet available

Grid Reference:TL 60 63
Parish:Burwell, East Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

  • CREMATION (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 701 BC)
  • BARROW (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 701 BC)

Associated Finds:

  • VESSEL (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 701 BC)

Full description

R1, 2 of the barrows on the edge of Newmarket Heath, belonging to the group called the beacons, were examined in May 1846 by a party from Cambridge. In one of the nothing was found as it appeared to have been previously opened; in the other the remains of a British internment, consisting of a rude vase (now in the CAAM), a few bones and some ashes, were discovered.

O1, The actual location of "The Beacons" is uncertain. Fox (R3)lists them among the Hare Park barrow group at the "E end of the4-mile racecourse" but quotes no authority for this. The Hare Park barrow group (see TL 55 NE, various sites) lies near the W end of the 4-mile racecourse, part of which is now known as the Beacon Course. There is a ring ditch at the E end of the 4-mileracecourse, in Newmarket, Suffolk (TL 66 SW 24). Fox quotes Arch J 3 (R4), as reference, which is an account of the excavation by WT Collins in 1846 of one barrow "in the parish of Bottisham, on the borders of Newmarket Heath." Collings states that it is situated on the chalk escarpment, making it conspicuous for miles around. Newmarket Heath does not fall in Bottisham parish and there are a large number of barrows and ring ditches in the area which could answer this description (see TL 55 NE, TL 56 SE). RCHM (R5), also quoting Collings, erroneously identify this barrow with the one on Allington Hill (TL 55 NE 04) which is AS in origin. Reaney (R6) states that Beacon Farm (TL/592-/617-) is "so called from the Beacons, 2 barrows at the 'E end of the 4-mileracecourse'", quoting Fox (R3) as reference. As Babington (R1) implies that there are more than 2 barrows, and places them "on the edge of Newmarket Heath" the names "Beacon Course" and "Beacon Farm" would seem to place The Beacons in the area TL/60--/63--. Likely candidates are the 3 small tumuli shown on OS 1st Edn 1in (TL 66 SW 19), or 3 ring ditches to the W (TL 66SW 21, TL 56 SE 58).

Sources and further reading

R1Bibliographic reference: Babington, C.C.. 1883. Ancient Cambridgeshire. 67 - 69.
R2Serial: 23/05/1846. Cambs Chronicle.
R3Bibliographic reference: Fox, C.. 1923. The Archaeology of the Cambridge Region. 327.
R4Article in serial: 1846. Arch J 3. p. 255-6.
R5Bibliographic reference: RCHM. 1972. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire. Volume II. North-East Cambridgeshire. 40.
R6Bibliographic reference: Reaney, R.H.. 1943. The Place-Names of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. 135.