Rubury Butts at Three Barrows Down

Shepherdswell & Coldred History Society are embarking on a project, in cooperation with Historic England and a number of others to try and preserve a series of ancient barrows known as Rubury Butts.

The barrows (a group of three) are situated on a site known locally as Three Barrows Down, situated on the North Downs Way on the border of the parishes of Shepherdswell with Coldred, Nonnington and Womenswold. The site was listed by Historic England as a scheduled monument in 2015 after representations from Shepherdswell with Coldred Parish Council and ourselves. 

Historic England gave the following reasons for their scheduling:

  • Survival: ‘the bowl barrows survive well, with mounds of between 1m and 3.5m high, and are likely to contain structures and burials’; 
  • Potential: the barrows have considerable potential to retain deposits pertaining to their construction and any interior structures, evidence of funerary traditions of the Bronze Age period and artefacts and ecofacts sealed within the mounds; 
  • Group value: the survival of three barrows in a group adds considerably to their national significance; 
  • Rarity: although not a rare burial feature of the prehistoric period, bowl barrows surviving in this good state of preservation are rare in Kent.

The Shepherdswell & Coldred History Society has been monitoring the condition of the site and have become increasingly concerned at the threat to the barrows posed by activities of motor cyclists – who use the mounds as ramps – and also from the roots of surrounding trees. 

Recently, we have been pleased to learn that Historic England has placed the site on the scheduled monuments ‘at risk’ register. See: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1427315

The History Society is in discussion with a number of interested parties in an attempt to build a partnership and create a management plan that will:

  • preserve the site
  • ensure access for the community
  • provide interpretative information, so the community recognises its historical/archaeological value.

We plan to keep you updated with regular progress reports on this website but if you would like to be involved with this project please do not hesitate to contact us at shepherdswellhistory@gmail.com.