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Historic England Research Records

Chapman Barrows

Hob Uid: 34724
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Challacombe, Parracombe
Grid Ref : SS6967943461
Summary : A group of twelve Bronze Age barrows including a linear cemetery. The barrows vary widely in their dimensions and state of preservation. The smallest is 17.5 by 10.6 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high. The largest has a diameter of 25 metres and stands to a height of 3.6 metres. There are additional small mounds in the vicinity but they are not thought to barrows; they may be clearance cairns associated with the nearby 19th century enclosures.
More information : (SS 6943) Chapman Barrows (NR). (1)
A group of round barrows, most extending as a linear cemetery along the parish boundary.

1. SS69274346. Diameter 18 paces; height 5 1/2 ft, with a large hollow in the centre.
2. SS69284349. 24 paces x 7 ft. Probably opened by Antell 1885. Within the retaining circle was a cairn with a cist containing a pot c 2 ft high and 1 ft 6 ins diameter, later smashed. Said to have contained sheep bones but it may have contained human bones of a primary or secondary burial.
3. SS69354372. Diameter 17 paces, height 4 ft.
4. SS69404349. Diameter 24 paces, height 2 ft.
5. SS69454348. Diameter 20 paces, height 2 1/2 ft, cut by stone wall on parish boundary.
5a. SS69484348. Diameter 12 paces, height 1 ft. Flat and spread; found July 1961.
6. SS69544348.Diameter 25 paces, height 6 ft. On parish boundary.
7 SS69694347. Diameter 28 paces, height 5 ft.
8. SS69874347 Diameter 25 paces, height 5 ft.
9. SS70004347. Diameter 28 paces, height 8 1/2 ft, crowned by OS trig pillar.
10. SS70084334. Diameter 28 paces, height 1 1/2 ft, truncated. 11. SS70004320. Diameter 33 paces, height 6 ft. Opened by Chanter, 1905, who found within a dry stone retaining wall a cairn with a primary cremation.
11. a-j. SS699431. A group of mounds averaging 3 paces diameter by 1 ft high. Opened by Chanter, 1905, without result, though two contained pits and others charcoal (2)

A group of round barrows as described by Grinsell, though the
small mounds 12. a-j cannot be identified with any degree
of certainty. The previously unpublished barrow 5a, surveyed at SS69474347. All other barrows revised. (3)

SS 64 SE 19
The Chapman Barrows are centred at SS 695435. They consist of a linear group of twelve round barrows, occupying a very prominent west-east ridge. The barrow group is not depicted on Donn's county map of 1765. (4)

For the purposes of this account the numbers allocated by the OS field investigator have been followed (ie working from west to east).

1 At SS 69264 43464. A very well defined, turf-covered circular mound measuring 19.6m north-south by 20.5m west-east (with a summit diameter of 10.5m). It is 2.4m high. The mound lies close to a hedgebank, the ditch of which has slightly truncated its north side. The mound has a stepped appearance caused by a berm, 0.8m wide, which runs continuously round it close to its base. The top of the mound has a central excavation pit. It is sub-rectangular and measures 5.8m by 5.5m, and is 0.9m deep.

2 At SS 69280 43495. A turf-covered, slightly smoothed circular mound in the corner of enclosed land. It measures 24.5m north-south by 21.4m west-east, and has corresponding summit measurements of 9.6m and 10.4m; it is 1.7m high. Its west side has been slightly clipped by a field boundary. An amorphous sub-circular hollow, 2.5m in diameter and 0.3m deep, exists in the centre of the summit. Recent animal erosion has occured on the north-west quadrant of the barrow. The mound was probably opened by Thomas Antell in 1885 to obtain stones for repairing field walls (2).

3 At SS 69352 43723. An apparently intact well-defined circular mound within enclosed land. It has a diameter of 14.7m with a summit of 4.3m, and is 0.7m high.
It lies over 200m north of the linear cemetery which forms the Chapman group, and occupies the northern crest of the ridge on the lip of ground falling away to the north. It therefore, unlike those barrows to its south, has good views to the north-east.

4 At SS 69402 43489. A smoothed, turf-covered circular mound lying within enclosed land. It measures 20.3m north-south by 23.5m west-east, and has a summit diameter of 14.5m. It is 0.4-0.6m high, with most of the height being on the western side. Its south side has been cut by the flanking ditch of a field boundary. The centre of the mound and most of its summit has been disturbed by an excavation and associated spoil dumps. A central lobe of spoil runs north-south across the mound, and is 0.4m high. To west and east are slight irregular hollows probably representing poorly backfilled excavations.

5 At SS 69450 43475. A turf-covered circular mound bisected by a west-east field boundary. It is 19.6m in diameter, and has been differentially preserved so that the northern half, lying within enclosed land, is 0.5m high while the southern half, lying on open moorland, is 0.7m high. There is no visible sign of any excavations.

5a At SS 69478 43477. An amorphous, elongated swelling bisected by a west-east field boundary. it measures 17.5m north-south by 10.6m west-east, and is 0.3m high. Its interpretation as a barrow cannot be conclusive, due to its overall form.

6 At SS 69541 43477. A very well defined circular mound divided by a west-east field boundary. It measures 22.6m in diameter and is 2m high, and has a corresponding summit diameter of between 10.4m and 11.8m. There is no surface indication of any excavation. Topographically it is on ground rising eastwards and, therefore, overlooks those barrows already described to its west. It has panoramic views in all directions excapt to its east, as far as Dartmoor to the south and Wales to the north.

7 At SS 69696 43468. A turf-covered, well defined circular mound measuring 21.8m north-south by 24.9m west-east and with a summit diameter of 10m; it is 3.2m high. The northern scarp of the barrow has been clipped and slightly truncated by a west-east field boundary. A central excavation pit is visible in the summit. It is sub-square in shape and is 5.8m across. It is steep sided and has a depth of 1.6m. The barrow is ringed by a ditch 0.3m deep and 1.7m wide, which is continuous except on the northern side. The barrow has extensive, panoramic views, which are only slightly obscured on its eastern side. It is on higher ground than barrow 6 to its west.

8 At SS 69873 43470. A turf-covered, slightly sub-circular mound measuring 18.2m north-south by 24m west-east, and with a summit diameter of 11.1m; it is 1.5m high. Its northern slopes have been grazed by a west-east field boundary. The mound appears to have been disturbed by excavation, but only amorphous undulations are visible. The mound has all round visibility and panoramic views.

9 At SS 70004 43476. A well defined, turf-covered, circular mound measuring 27m in diameter, and with a summit diameter of between 9.4m and 11.6m. It is 3.6m high. On the top of the barrow is a mound 0.6m high and 6.2m in diameter which has been constructed to accommodate an OS Triangulation Pillar.

10 At SS 7008 4334. A circular, turf and reed covered, circular mound measuring 26.5m north-south by 28m west-east, and with a summit diameter of 23m. It is 0.6m hugh. The barrow is relatively low compared with its neighbours. There is no indication that it has been excavated, although in places its top is uneven.

11 At SS 69994 43210. A circular, turf-covered mound measuring 32.6m in diameter with a summit diameter of 15m. It is 2.3m high. The barrow is dominated by a massive excavation in the form of a trench driven north-westwards into its centre from the south-east. The trench is "V"-shaped in section, being some 4.7m wide at the top and only 1m wide at the base. It is 1m deep and is very steep sided. Towards the centre of the barrow it curves slightly northwards and opens out to a width of 5.9m. The overall length of the excavation is 18.5m.
The mound was opened by Chanter in 1905 (2).
32m to the east-south-east of the centre of the barrow, at SS 7002 4319, is a small mound with a hollow interior and an opening on the southern side. It measures 4m north-south by 6.2m west-east. One edge set stone, 0.2m high, is visible on the eastern side of the opening. The function and date of the feature is unclear, but it may be associated either with the excavation or with the mounds 11 a-j, see below.

11 a-j. No clear indication of the mounds could be seen in the vicinity of the NGR cited (SS 699431). However, a number of small mounds were observed during the course of the above investigation. Two are visible to the north-east of barrow 11, and another lies to the south-east of barrow 7 (see SMR No SS 64 SE 100).
They are all between 1.8m adn 3m in diameter and 0.4m high. They are sharply defined and appear to be largely composed of earth. Their function is unclear, but they do not appear to be associated with the barrow cemetery. (5)

The Chapman Barrows are centred at SS 696 434. They consist of a linear group of twelve round barrows, occupying a very prominent west-east ridge. The majority of the barrows fall within this sheet but two, (9 and 11) fall partly within, and one, (10) falls wholely within sheet SS 74 SW.

9 SS 70003 43475. A large bowl barrow evident as a turf-covered mound surmounted by an OS Triangulation Pillar. It is truncated across the northern side by a ditched enclosure wall (the Parracombe/Challacombe Parish Boundary) north of which it has been reduced by ploughing making precise measurements impossible, however it varies from 28.4m up to 30m in diameter (average 29.2m) and is 2.3m high. There is a distinct change in the slope of the barrow, about 1.6m high and 7m in from the perimeter, which may be indicative of an internal retaining turf or stone wall structure. The barrow has been 'excavated' just south of its centre leaving a mound of spoil, about 6m diameter, some 0.6m high above the summit. The hollow within the spoil has been partly back filled to accommodate the OS Pillar. There are slight traces of a surrounding ditch.

10. SS 70082 43337. A barrow visible as a well-defined raised circular area of rough grass 26.4m in diameter and about 0.4m average height. Probing revealed some stone content but it appears to be predominantly an earthen construction best seen around the SW quadrant where it reaches a maximum 0.7m high. There are suggestions of a slight bank around the rim and faint traces of a silted ditch around the NW quadrant.

11. SS 69994 43210. A well-formed bowl barrow covered by heather and rough grass 32.9m in diameter and 2.4m high. There is (as with barrow 9) a distinct change of slope, about 1.6m high, some 6.7m in from the periphery. There is now no trace of a surrounding ditch however a growth of rushes around the northern side suggests a heavily silted feature. Chanter's excavation trench(2) cuts into the barrow from ESE forming a steep sided gulley 11m long and up to 7m wide, ending in a central hollow some 6m diameter and 1.5m deep. The excavation has revealed the interior of the barrow which is earth with some small stone content. Spoil from the excavation has been dumped around the hollow forming a band of material 0.5m above the summit.
At SS 7003 4321, about 20m to the NE of the trench entrance, is a turf-covered earth and stone mound, 6m diameter and 0.5m high, with a gap in its south side. This appears to be a spoil heap from the excavation.
These are Scheduled Monuments: Part of Devon 205 (The Chapman group) (a). Surveyed at 1:2500.

It should be noted that (as with SS 74 SW 12) there is a distinct difference between the two types of monuments in this group of barrows. Seven of them (1,2,6,7,8,9 and 11) are clearly 'bowl' type barrows. Four (3,4,5 and 10) are much lower 'rimmed platform' or 'ring bank' barrows. The mound 5a may be one of this latter group but must remain doubtful. (5-9)

The barrow group is clearly visible on aerial photographs of the area, with the exception of 5a, which cannot be identified. Signs of excavation can be seen on at least two of the barrows, which agrees with the authorities above. A possible thirteenth barrow has been recorded to the north east of barrow 3 (see NMR UID 1468844). The small mounds 11 or 12 a-j may represent clearance cairns associated with the 19th century enclosures (9-11).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : Devon Archaeological Society proceedings
Source details : (L V Grinsell).
Page(s) : 114, 127
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 28, 1970
Source Number : 11
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : Exmoor National Park Authority MAL 4974-75 16-AUG-1981
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Source Number : 3
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MHB 19-AUG-72
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Donn B 1765 A Map of the County of Devon
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Wilson-North WR 22-JUL-93, RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : Dept of the Environment 1987 County List of Scheduled Ancient Monuments: Devon County No 205
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Sainsbury I S 20-APR-1995 RCHME Field Investigation
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Source Number : 8
Source : Chapman Barrows, Longstone Barrow, Five Barrows, selected barrow profiles/pencil
Source details :
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Source Number : 9
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF 540/931 3095-96 08-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 10
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR OS/73109 884-85 29-APR-1973
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Barrow Cemetery, Round Barrow, Cist, Cremation, Pit
Evidence : Earthwork, Find, Structure
Monument Period Name : Uncertain
Display Date : Uncertain
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Clearance Cairn
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Barrow Cemetery, Round Barrow, Cist, Cremation, Pit
Object Type : ANIMAL REMAINS, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2070
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2072
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2073
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2066
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV205
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE1061
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5622
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2063
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2067
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 15193
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2068
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2064
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2065
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 2069
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 15191
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 17814
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 64 SE 19
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1468844
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CHALLACOMBE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1885-01-01
End Date : 1885-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 64 SE 19
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-08-19
End Date : 1972-08-19
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01
Associated Activities : Primary, CHAPMAN BARROW 11
Activity type : FIELD SURVEY
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31