Hickford Hill, Belchamp St Paul, Essex

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – TL 7872 4537

Archaeology & History

Ground-plan of enclosure & surrounding barrows

Plan of enclosure & surrounding barrows

Several hundred yards northeast from Hickford Hill, a cluster of prehistoric sites could once be seen close to each other just south of the River Stour below line of the Essex-Suffolk county boundary.  Several of these were tombs and are accounted for in Priddy’s (1981) essay on the prehistoric Barrows of Essex; but adjacent to them were also found faint traces of a large circular enclosure of some sort, which Harding & Lee (1987) included in their definitive survey of British henge monuments. Their account of it was brief and simple, saying:

“Enclosure defined by the cropmark of a sub-circular rather narrow ditch broken by two entrances.  No trace of a bank.  Internal traces of a concentric innner ditch in part of the circuit… Internal diameter range 56-57m…; width of outer ditch c.1.5-2.5m; width of entrances, c.7m (E) and 16m (NW); width of inner ditch c.2.5-5m.”

Although this large ringed enclosure was thought by the Haverhill & District Archaeology Group to “be a henge-type monument,” Harding & Lee (1987) thought it unlikely that these remains “belong to the henge class” of monuments.  A brief archaeological dig into one of the trenches here in 1997 showed the site to be Bronze Age; but finds by the local archaeology team have also come across finds in the fields hereby dating from the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.

References:

  1. Harding, A.F. & Lee, G.E., Henge Monuments and Related Sites of Great Britain, BAR 175: Oxford 1987.
  2. Priddy, D., “The Barrows of Essex,” in A.J. Lawson’s The Barrows of East Anglia, Norfolk Museums Service 1981.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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