Perces, Halstead, Essex

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TL 8228 2704

Archaeology & History

Aerial image showing ghostly circular outline

This is one of many lost prehistoric burial sites destroyed in Essex in recent centuries and whose only remains now, as seen here to the right, are the ghostly outlines left in the Earth when looking down from above.  We are very fortunate indeed in even having a record of this place—this time thanks to an astute fellow antiquarian hearing of some old remains alleged to have been in an old burial mound, south of Greenstead Green.

It’s short story was described in M.R. Hull’s (1946) essay on a series of Bronze Age beakers in Essex that were found in association with once-proud tumuli, living amidst a landscape held as sacred by our peasant ancestors.  Although we have no good description of the tumulus, Mr Hull said that this well-preserved clay beaker,

Perces Bronze Age beaker

“was found in 1930 on the 200ft contour-line 366 yards due south of Piercys in the parish of Halstead…that is 2¼ miles south-southeast of Halstead Church.  I visited the site immediately after the discovery with our late Fellow, Mr P.G. Laver, and the finder assured us that no other remains were found.  He had dug a small pit into the natural gravel, and in doing so came upon this vessel at a depth of 7ft from the surface.  When we arrived the burial pit had been destroyed, and, although the depth of the vessel from the surface suggests that a tumulus existed, we were unable to see any remains of it.  We found a calcined flint…in the excavation. The vessel…(of) clay is fine, containing a very small quantity of quartz-like grit; the colour is a warm red-brown, and the body is decorated all over with finger-nail impressions.”

References:

Hull, M.R., “Five Bronze Age Beakers from North-East Essex,” in Antiquaries Journal, volume 26, Jan-April 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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