How many people in Richmond Park looking at that famous protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral realise they are standing on an ancient burial mound?

More many will now though, as King Henry VIII’s Mound has now been protected as a scheduled monument, due to its national archaeological and historic importance, along with a second site in the Royal Park.

The small hill known as King Henry VIII’s Mound is likely to be a prehistoric round barrow, and quite rare in Greater London. It later was reused as a landscape feature documented from the early 17th century onwards.

The name of the site comes from a legend that King Henry VIII waited at this spot on 19 May 1536 for a signal from the Tower of London, which would signify that his wife Anne Boleyn had been executed for treason and he would be able to marry Lady Jane Seymour.

Slight problem, King Henry VIII is thought to have been in Wiltshire on the day.

While you can’t see the Tower from here, it’s the location for one of London’s more famous, and if you’re a developer, damn annoying features of planning law – a protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound (c) Royal Parks

Although it is not currently possible to categorically confirm a prehistoric origin for King Henry VIII’s Mound, the form of the monument, its location and the associated documentation are said to make this a strong possibility. Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC.

There are a few dotted around London that managed to survive the centuries of housing developments, such as this one in Woolwich.

Another feature thought to be even older than King Henry VII’s Mound has also been protected as a scheduled monument. Located in the west of Richmond Park, approximately 60m west of Queens Road, is a possible long barrow which survives well as a substantial earth mound.

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3 comments on “Protection for Richmond Park’s ancient burial mounds
  1. Tim Dore says:

    Is it possible to be more exact as to where the second mound in Richmond park is located. I would love to see it.
    Many thanks

  2. JP says:

    There’s a number of available topographic maps of the area to whet one’s appetite and go on a virtual treasure hunt.
    Alternatively, the option to go looking for lumps and bumps still presents itself up until the dread day when we have a Bournemouth beach situation of overcrowding and the park is left to the deer again upon temporary locking of the gates. “But I’m looking for a burial mound with a view constable. Of course you are sir…”

  3. Nick K says:

    There are a few raised bits west of queens road between pembroke lodge and ham gate avenue, but they feel natural. (and bumpy, rather than a ‘long barrow’) There’s nothing like that between ham gate ave and kingston gate. So if it’s not those then it’s got to be either in the pembroke lodge gardens, or between pembroke lodge and richmond gate.
    -source: I run there a lot.

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