West Mersea Barrow

Just up the East Mersea road as you come onto Mersea Island, is a conspicuous mound on the left. It is thought to be a Roman burial barrow, dated 100-120 AD. The mound was excavated in 1912 and an entrance passage built. In the centre was a small burial chamber built of Roman bricks capped by septaria (clay nodules) and inside was a lead box with a wooden lid. The box contained an urn of green glass containing cremated remains.
 
The barrow is also known as Mersea Mound, Mersea Mount or Grim's Hoe.


Entrance passage
 
 
Mersea Barrow - lead box and urn in Colchester Museum. Photo: Pat Kirby
 
 
Barrow Hall and the Barrow before the 1912 excavation.

  The Barrow is well covered with trees
 
  The chamber in the centre of the Barrow

Left: The lead box and urn when they were on display in the Castle Museum in Colchester.
Photograph by courtesy of Colchester Museums.
 
Below Left: A postcard of Barrow Hall and the Barrow before the 1912 excavation.
 
Below: The barrow, thought to be around the time of the original excavation. The postcard shows the entrance passage cut into the side of the mound.

Mersea Barrow - entrance passage.

In 2012, the lead box and its contents returned to Mersea for the first time in 100 years, to be exhibited at Mersea Museum for the summer. The opportunity was then taken to have the bones analysed to try find out more about the person buried in the Barrow. Click here to read about the results of the analysis.
7 August 2014 the bones returned to Mersea once more, and are on display in Mersea Museum. We are grateful to Colchester and Ipswich Ipswich Museums for the loan of the bones and their help in getting them here.

Mersea Museum organises open days at the barrow from time to time.
Contact us for details - Info@MerseaMuseum.org.uk.


Do you want to know more?
Follow the links below to view some historic and reports on the Barrow:

Extracts from the report on the 1912 excavation of the Barrow

View full report on the 1912 excavation of the Barrow

1969 article from Essex Countryside on Mersea Barrow

June 2013 article on the analysis of the Bones from the Barrow

The Secrets of the Mound - Mersea Barrow 1912-2012
A detailed history of the Barrow, published in 2012, with a 2013 update.



Copyright Mersea Island Museum Trust 2014