Pages 480-483

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.

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The twenty-seven monuments listed here are mounds, of various forms, but have little else in common. A few might conceivably incorporate, or actually be, barrows, (fn. 1) though all those that can certainly or probably be so identified are described above. No purpose can be ascribed to the majority, but known or probable functions include rabbit warrens and windmill and beacon mounds. Some, e.g. the group of small mounds on Battle Plain (East Holme (12)), lack convincing parallels but the 'pillow mounds' (Church Knowle (29), Worth Matravers (32)) are of a kind found widespread over the country (see Sectional Preface, p. lxx).


(64) Mound (SY 89 SW; 82229165), on parish boundary with Turners Puddle. Possibly originally a small round barrow. Destroyed.


(47) Mound (SY 98 NW; 92328639) on level low-lying ground behind the New Inn, Stoborough. Diam. about 150 ft., ht. 18 ft. with flat top. This is probably a natural hillock scarped and altered in recent times on the N. and E. Early mediaeval pottery has been found here. (T. D. Reed, The Rise of Wessex (1947), 332.)

Bere Regis

(117 a, b) Mounds, two (SY 89 SE), probably rabbit warrens, lie on either side of a flat-topped N.W.-S.E. ridge about 150 ft. above O.D. on Warren Heath, 2 miles S.S.E. of St. John the Baptist's Church.

(a) Ditched oval mound (85059130), immediately above steep S. slope 660 yds. W. of Warren House (Bere Regis (53)). Length N.W.-S.E. 140 ft., width 35 ft. Ht. 1½ ft. at N.W. end falling to 9 ins. at S.E. end. Ditch 12 ft. wide and 9 ins. deep along S.W. side and around N.W. end, probably continuing along N.E. side.

(b) Elongated mound with parallel sides (85159142), 165 yds. N.E. of (a) and similarly sited above a steep N.-facing slope. Formerly about 90 ft. long W.-E. and 15 ft. wide, now ploughed almost flat.


(75) Long Mound (SY 68 SE; 67868491), prominent at about 340 ft. above O.D. on the crest of a narrow ridge ½ mile N.W. of the church. Irregular, roughly wedge-shaped, about 90 ft. long, 40 ft. wide at widest on W., prolonged beyond attenuated E. end by arable scarping which also adds to maximum height of 14 ft. S. of the W. end. On Purbeck Sand; limestone rubble is exposed in places. Formerly amongst strip fields (Bincombe (11), Fig. p. 24).

Church Knowle

(50) Mound (SY 97 NW; 93147957), on S. edge of settlement area on Smedmore Hill (see Settlements, Church Knowle (55), Fig. p. 509). Length 22 ft. S.W.-N.E., width 18 ft., ht. 1 ft. Apparently consists of limestone rubble.

(51) Mound (SY 98 SW; 93538224; Fig. opp. p. 509), on crest of Knowle Hill 665 yds. N.W. of St. Peter's Church. Length 60 ft. W.-E., width 30 ft., ht. 2 ft., with blunt ends. No ditch visible. It is possibly associated with the adjacent Iron Age 'A' settlement (Church Knowle (54)).

(52–3) Mounds, two, small and irregular (SY 98 SW; 94608236), about 10 yds. to 15 yds. E. of round barrow Church Knowle (41), at the E. end of Knowle Hill. The more westerly, (52), is crossed by the bank of a slight ditched enclosure, 30 ft. square and probably recent, lying to its N. Austen described the mounds as barrows but their origin is unknown (Purbeck Papers II, 55).

Pillow Mounds, six (SY 98 SW; 929820), between Ridgeway Hill and Knowle Hill, see parish inventory, Church Knowle (29), p. 48.

Corfe Castle

(220) Mound (SY 98 SE; 95058035), at Blashenwell, see Corte Castle (175), p. 96.

Mound, 1½ ft. high, apparently of Romano-British debris, see Ancient Field Group (21).

Mound, associated with limestone debris and Romano-British pottery (95067783), see Roman section, Corfe Castle (239).

Corfe Mullen

(23) Mountain Clump or Soldiers' Barrow (SY 99 NE; 97439739) within 200 ft. ring contour, surmounted by trigonometrical station. Oval, 148 ft. W.-E. by 176 ft. N.-S., ht. 25 ft. Part at least appears artificial. Tree-covered.

A mound at SY 99299656 (LVG 2) was excavated in 1964 and found to be natural (Dorset Procs. LXXXVI (1964), 109–10).

Holme, East

(12) Mounds, small, a large group (SY 98 NW; 90628532– 90678531), lie N. of Battle Plain on Holme Heath. Austen (Purbeck Papers I, 233–8) described 120 in 1860 though he showed only 107 in his drawing (re-presented here). Forty-five could be plotted with certainty in recent years, lying in approximately parallel rows running from the crest down the S. shoulder of a gravel knoll (see introduction to round barrows E. Holme (9–11)). These are close enough to Austen's positions to show that the rest of his plan can be accepted as a rough guide to the lay-out in his day. (Fig. 482.)

Some of the mounds are only 20 ft. apart, centre to centre, but most are more widely spaced. All are very roughly circular and (with one exception, 6 ft. across) vary in diameter from 9 ft. to 15 ft. Twenty-nine are between 9 ft. and 12 ft. Ht. is generally 1 ft. to 1½ ft., though two are 9 ins. high and three 2 ft. high. All are densely covered in heather and many are disturbed. The plantation banks and ditches shown by Austen, virtually the same as exist today, cut athwart the rows of mounds and one mound, on the S., is sliced.

The whole area was planted in Austen's day, as now, and he says 'the trees which had been planted on them were of much larger size than the generality of those upon the level ground'. He dug into many of the mounds and 'found that they all contained the remains of burned furze in the state of charcoal'.

R.C.H.M. excavated one of the mounds, (a), in 1956. It was found to be built of sods piled direct on an old ground surface. There was no ditch and no internal feature of any sort. The only find, of a rough flint scraper in the body of the mound, had no significance since similar artefacts can be picked up on the heath around. There appeared to be the remains of at least four generations of trees. Professor Dimbleby, then of the Commonwealth Forestry Institute, examined pollen samples from a further mound, (b), (also barren of archaeological finds) and concluded that 'the raw humus was buried not later than mediaeval times and not earlier than the Iron Age'. He tended to favour an early place in this bracket. 'The land at that time was dominated by heather.'

Holme, East

Both the date and purpose of these mounds remain obscure. Mound (c) appears to lie over the tail of the Bronze Age barrow (9). A connection with tree planting seems possible but, according to Professor Dimbleby, unlikely.

Knighton, West

(25) Mound, kidney-shaped, irregular (SY 78 NW; 73638780), 460 yds. N.E. of the church and immediately S.E. of Common Plantation in boggy grassland over Reading Beds. Width about 66 ft., ht. about 2 ft.

Langton Matravers

(41) Windmill Mound (SZ 07 NW; 00907894), on summit of Coombe Hill, a small W. to E. ridge. Diam. 68 ft., ht. formerly over 3 ft., with slightly-hollowed flat top. Ditch 10 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep, broken by causeway on S. Ploughed.

Lytchett Matravers

(38) 'Windmill Barrow', probable windmill mound (SY 99 NW; 93729774), on spine of slight ridge about 250 ft. above O.D. Pear-shaped, diams. 107 ft. W.-E. and 94 ft. N.-S. Ht. about 11 ft. Embanked circular depression about 45 ft. in diam. on top of mound, with spur to E.


(56) Beacon Mound, possibly incorporating a round barrow (SY 99 NW; 90959532), on summit of Beacon Hill about 200 ft. above O.D. and visible from all directions over large area. Diam. about 45 ft., ht. 6 ft., with steep sides and flat top about 18 ft. across. Modern slit trench shows clay earth in section. Noted as beacon by I. Taylor (Estate Map, 1773–7).


Mounds, two (SY 78 NE), near Moigne Court (Owermoigne (2), Fig. p. 186).

(34) (77008573). Approximately rectangular, 40 ft. by 30 ft., with rounded corners, irregular sloping sides, and flat top. Ht. about 3½ ft.

(35) (77008567). Length about 70 ft. N.-S., ht. about 5 ft. Approximately rectangular W. angles, but no clear E. side. Roughly flat top. Much disturbed, formerly in wooded garden.


(97) Mound (SY 67 SE; 68357019), on S. slope near bottom of broad gully. Diam. about 110 ft., ht. 15 ft. Flat-topped but irregular, with shelter dug into S.W. Not shown on Tithe Map (1841), when in 'Under Hedge' furlong, though 'Rough Barrow' furlong adjacent on S.


(26) Mound (SY 98 SW; 91248090), among settlement remains (Steeple (16), p. 273).


Mounds, thirteen, on S. Haven peninsula associated with earthen circles, see Enclosures, Studland (43).


(38) Mound (SY 88 SE; 88348027), 250 yds. S.E. of St. Mary's Church adjacent to village closes (Tyneham (8), see plan in pocket, Part 2); under 200 ft. above O.D. on ground falling gently W. Square, with sides each 27 ft., ht. 1 ft. Grasscovered but containing stones.

Worth Matravers

Mounds, two (SY 97 NE), on top of broad ridge between Winspit and Seacombe Bottoms in an area formerly covered by strip fields (see Worth Matravers (29), p. 415).

(37) (97907704). Diam. 36 ft., ht. 1½ ft. Turf-covered.

(38) (97977698), 50 yds. S.E. of (37). Diam. 45 ft., ht. 2½ ft., showing many stones, perhaps indicating origin as spoil from field clearance. Overgrown.

Pillow Mounds, three (SY 97 NE; 98427770), at Eastington, see Worth Matravers (32), p. 415.


Under the heading L.V.G. are the parish numbers of mounds as included in L. V. Grinsell, Dorset Barrows (1959), and not here considered barrows.

R.C.H.M. L.V.G.
Affpuddle 64 12
Bere Regis 117a 47
Church Knowle 51 I
Corfe Mullen 23 1
Knighton, West 25 2
Lytchett Matravers 38 1
Portland 97 3


  • 1. Seven were included by L. V. Grinsell in Dorset Barrows (1959); see Concordance, p. 483.