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CHER Number:01335
Type of record:Monument
Name:Roman barrow, Chesterton


Scheduled earthwork remains of a Roman barrow, probably reused as a medieval windmill mound, as well as possibly a Roman signal station and medieval beacon.

Grid Reference:TL 128 946
Parish:Chesterton, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

Protected Status:

  • Scheduled Monument 1020125: Roman barrow 380m north of Hill Farm

Full description

1. TL/1286/9463 Signal station (Ro).
2. Mound.
3. This earthwork stands on the brow of a hill which falls away sharply to the N and E. The position is very commanding. The ground on which the mound stands slopes away slightly to the E and since it stands level the ditch on the W side is much deeper than that on the E. Further, the ditch on the W side has a very square section. The mound is very symmetrical and almost entirely undamaged. Though nine elms stand fringing the ditch in the W side none grew or apparently have ever grown on the mound. The mound stands a good twelve ft high from the bottom of the ditch. It is flat topped but shows no sign of having carried any kind of structure. It does not seem that the ditch could ever have been big enough to supply all the material for the mound. Rabbits have dug some holes about half way up the mound and it is possible to see a stratification of darker earth running through the greyish yellow earth of which it is composed. The neat layout of the mound with its tongue like prolongation and ditch looks like Roman work. No surface finds.
4. Mound: Antiquity still exists. Mound of earth twenty ft high, base forty ft wide. Signs of a possible moat still exist though ground had almost levelled itself around the mound. Ten deciduous trees surround this antiquity.
5. "I saw this sometime ago and thought it looked like the site of a windmill. I do not think Roman is justified".
6. Scheduled as a round barrow.
7. A large mound with prominent berm encircled by a wide shallow ditch except where interrupted by a broad ramp. The construction and topographical situation as outlined by author 3 is correct although no support could be found for the suggested Roman classification; it does not fall into a signal station grouping although its possible use as a beacon cannot be discounted. The immediate area has been recently ploughed, other than normal field debris no finds were made, the present landowner has no knowledge of original field names. Engineering suggests a Medieval origin, probably a mill mound.
8. Round barrow N of Chesterton Upper Lodge. A fine mound 3,5m high from the ditch which almost surrounds it. There is a ramp leading up to it from the N. This ramp clearly extends into the field surrounding the ditch and reaches about half way up the mound. The ditch is 1.21m deep and the whole structure 27m across. There are a few trees growing in the ditch. Barrow is situated on high ground 750m W of Ermine Street and marked in old OS maps as Roman Signal Station. It is covered in rough grass and nettles, and supports five scrubby trees on the mound and one in the ditch. Mature trees in the ditch have been felled leaving stumps and one large trunk fallen across the ditch. There is a small hole approximately 0.5m in length and 45cm in depth at summit, possibly caused by rabbits and other evidence of annual disturbance on the barrow. To W and S the construction of a reservoir and associated outlet pipe, is encroaching a ditch with water being pumped into ditch at time of visit. Ploughing is taking place within 1m of ditch edge to E.
9. The monument includes a Roman barrow, which was probably reused during the medieval period as a mill mound. The use of the mound as a Roman signal station and a medieval beacon may also have occurred. The dimensions of the earthwork are approximately 3.5m high from the base of the ditch and 20m in diameter from the bottom of the mound. A ramp runs from the field to the N up to 0.6m from the top of the mound. The slope of the mound shows a marked break 0.6m from the top, indicating that a top layer was added for later reuse. This top layer and the ramp may originate from the mound's use as a mill. The ditch surrounding the mound is up to 3.5m wide and 0.5m deep.
10. The barrow is situated 350m N of Hill Farm, on the crest of Chesterton Hill with good visibility, especially to the N and E. The mound is preserved as a substantial earthwork with flat platform top. On the N the mound extends into a ramp approx. 9m long, this runs from the adjacent field. The dent in the slope may however be the result of past animal burrowing and/or tree-root disturbance. The ditch is visible as a slight depression, the N part has been squared by ploughing and the use of tractors has further damaged the ditch and lip of the mound.
The barrow lies 2100m S of the Roman town Durobrivae and 750m SW of the A1, the former Roman Ermine Street.

<1> 1902, OS 6 inch map (Map). SCB8951.

<2> OS Rec 6in (Index). SCB9637.

<3> Field notes? (Unpublished document). SCB11658.

<4> Reviser SS, 11/05/1950, Field notes? (Unpublished document). SCB14214.

<5> Untitled Source (Unpublished document). SCB6737.

<6> 1925, Monument Number 116 (Scheduling record). SCB17538.

<7> OS field notes (Unpublished document). SCB17539.

<8> Paterson, H, 1983, Fieldwork notes 1983 (Unpublished document). SCB16669.

<9> English Heritage, 2001, Roman barrow 380m north of Hill Farm (Scheduling record). SCB18159.

<10> National Monument Record, Archaeological Item Data Set Printout (Unpublished document). SCB19702.

Sources and further reading

<1>Map: 1902. OS 6 inch map.
<2>Index: OS Rec 6in.
<3>Unpublished document: Field notes?.
<4>Unpublished document: Reviser SS. 11/05/1950. Field notes?.
<5>Unpublished document:
<6>Scheduling record: 1925. Monument Number 116.
<7>Unpublished document: OS field notes.
<8>Unpublished document: Paterson, H. 1983. Fieldwork notes 1983.
<9>Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2001. Roman barrow 380m north of Hill Farm.
<10>Unpublished document: National Monument Record. Archaeological Item Data Set Printout.