South Wonston, Hampshire

Long Barrow:  OS Grid Reference – SU 472 361

Archaeology & History

This was one site amongst a good cluster of prehistoric burials in this area, although most of this particular tomb has been destroyed.  It was first located and described as a result of aerial surveying in the 1940s and described soon after the war in a short article by Mr G.C. Dunning (1946), who told us:

“An unrecorded long barrow is situated at South Wonston, immediately north of Worthy Down, in the parish of Wonston, 4 miles due north of Winchester (6-in OS Hampshire sheet 33 SW), Lat. 51° 7′ 15″ N, Long. 1° 19′ 30” W.  The site was first noticed from the air in 1944 and has been visited several times.  The barrow is enclosed in a loop of the 350ft contour, and the subsoil is chalk.

Map of site
Aerial view of site

“The axis of the barrow is north-east to south-west; at about one-third from the west end it is crossed by a road.  West of the road about 90ft of the mound is preserved in good condition and grass-grown; it is 60ft wide and 5ft high.  On the south side the flanking ditch can be traced; a hedge runs along the north side and the ditch is obscured by a garden.  A flint end-scraper, 3in long, with thick white patination, was picked out of the section of the mound on the west side of the road.  East of the road the mound extends into a cultivated field and it has been much reduced by constant ploughing; it is now about 1ft high and the soil contains more chalk than elsewhere in the field.  The ditches are parallel and show up as dark lines on the air-photograph (see b&w image), taken in April 1946.  The ditches are continued round the east end of the barrow, an unusual feature proved in the long barrow at Holdenhurst, near Christchurch, Hants… No indications of structures  or burial-pits can be detected within the east end of the mound, which is therefore of the unchambered type and built of chalk rubble… The total length of the barrow is about 340ft; it is thus probably the longest barrow in Hampshire.”

Mr Dunning goes onto mention the existence of another round barrow in the same field, a little to the east, “about 80ft in diameter and 3ft high.”  Since his day, several other monuments have been found in the locale.


  1. Dunning, G.C., “A New Long Barrow in Hampshire,” in Antiquaries Journal, volume 26, 1946.
  2. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England, Long Barrows in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, HMSO: London 1979.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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