Friday, 30 December 2011

Neath Barrow Mystery Solved - It's Robin Hood's Ball (Probably)



C Greenwood's map of Wiltshire dated 1820 shows"Neath Barrow" close to Robin Hood's Ball on Salisbury Plain.
This barrow doesn't show up on any other map I have to hand.


Comparing the map to a modern OS map leads me to believe it is actually the Causewayed Enclosure now known as Robin Hood's Ball and maybe an associated tumulus that it is referring to. The name was originally applied to the wood and then transfered to the enclosure.

Click on Maps to get larger versions.


Further investigation found that Neath Barrow was one of the original triangulation points for the Ordnance Survey:


The details are available in this book;

An account of the operations carried out for accomplishing a trigonometrical ... By William Mudge, Isaac Dalby, Thomas Colby, Great Britain. Ordnance Survey

Annoyingly the relevant map Plate VII isn't fully scanned - though presumably others will have a copy.

I'm not sure I understand the angles and distances figures in the attached scan


But I have mapped one place that is the stated distance (32882 feet) from the Beacon Hill Trig Point. - It is also about the right distance from Red Horn Hill, because that distance is given from Red Horn Clump which I don't know the exact position of.


There seems to be a second distance from Beacon Hill given (32869) feet, which is strange. And I am only guessing the Beacon Hill measurement is from where the Trig point was put up.

Frustratingly close to accurately pin pointing the Barrow,


View Neath Barrow? in a larger map


Robin Hood's Ball was the name given to a small circular copse of wood just to the north west of the earthworks. It is probable that over time the name came to be associated with the enclosure instead.

It all points to Neath Barrow being the original name for the enclosure. And before Colt Hoare et al dug it over the barrows on the northwest side it may well have been more impressive.

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