Ancient Monuments

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Barrow Place earthwork, 370m south west of Lodge Farm, Ditchley

A Scheduled Monument in Spelsbury, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8739 / 51°52'25"N

Longitude: -1.4334 / 1°26'0"W

OS Eastings: 439101.027492

OS Northings: 219628.066492

OS Grid: SP391196

Mapcode National: GBR 6TP.JDK

Mapcode Global: VHBZQ.35KB

Entry Name: Barrow Place earthwork, 370m south west of Lodge Farm, Ditchley

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 20 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013235

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21822

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Spelsbury

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Spelsbury

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a roughly square earthwork enclosure which has been
interpreted as a Romano-Celtic temple. It is situated 370m south west of Lodge
Farm on a gentle north facing slope. The monument has a single circuit of bank
and outer ditch with sides of c.50m in length, which encloses a level interior
of 0.3ha. The flat sides face north east, south east, south west and north
west. The bank measures between 5m and 7m wide and 1m high with a 2m wide
level walkway along its top. Field investigation has shown the bank to be of a
packed stone construction. The surrounding quarry ditch provided material for
the construction of the bank and, although overgrown, survives to between 5m
and 7m wide and 0.4m deep. There is evidence of a slight counterscarp bank
0.7m wide and up to 0.2m high on the north western side of the enclosure. An
area of quarrying along the line of the ditch on the south western side of the
monument has created a waterlogged depression which has obscured the line of
the bank.
Iron Age Roman pottery has been recovered from the site.
Excluded from the scheduling is the post and wire fence which surrounds much
of the monument, although the ground beneath remains included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-Celtic temples were built to meet the spiritual needs of the
communities they served by venerating the god or spirit considered to dwell in
a particular place. The temple building was regarded as the treasure house of
its deity and priests rather than as a congregational building and any
religious activities, including private worship, communal gatherings,
sanctuary and healing, took place outside.
Romano-Celtic temples included the temple building and a surrounding sacred
precinct or temenos which could be square, circular, rectangular or polygonal
in ground plan. The temple building invariably faced due east and was the
focus of the site, although it did not necessarily occupy the central position
in the temenos. It comprised a cella, or inner temple chamber, an ambulatory
or walkway around the cella, and sometimes annexes or antechambers. The
buildings were constructed of a variety of materials, including stone, cob and
timber, and walls were often plastered and painted both internally and
externally. Some temenoi enclosed other buildings, often substantial and built
in materials and styles similar to those of the temple; these are generally
interpreted as priests' houses, shops or guest houses.
Romano-Celtic temples were built and used throughout the Roman period from the
mid first century AD to the late fourth/early fifth century AD, with
individual examples being used for relatively long periods of time. They were
widespread throughout southern and eastern England, although there are no
examples in the far south west and they are rare nationally with only about
150 sites recorded in England. In view of their rarity and their importance in
contributing to the complete picture of Roman religious practice, including
its continuity from Iron Age practice, all Romano-Celtic temples with
surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national

The earthwork known as Barrow Place has been interpreted as a Romano-Celtic
temple and, as such, it survives particularly well despite partial quarrying
along its south western side. It will contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to its construction, function and the landscape in which it
was built. This is one of several similar earthworks to survive in this area
of Oxfordshire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'Oxoniensia' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch : A Fieldwork Survey, (1984), 286
PRN 1269, C.A.O., Barrow Piece Field, (1975)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1980
SP 31 NE

Source: Historic England

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