Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow in Lowndes Park, known as the `Rolling Pin'

A Scheduled Monument in Chesham, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.7066 / 51°42'23"N

Longitude: -0.6196 / 0°37'10"W

OS Eastings: 495481.666497

OS Northings: 201773.614623

OS Grid: SP954017

Mapcode National: GBR F5P.S7H

Mapcode Global: VHFS9.6CTL

Entry Name: Bowl barrow in Lowndes Park, known as the `Rolling Pin'

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013931

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27127

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Chesham

Built-Up Area: Chesham

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Great Chesham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The Bronze Age bowl barrow, known locally as the `Rolling Pin', is situated
some 280m north west of St Mary's Church, near the top of a south east facing
slope in a public park near the centre of Chesham.
The barrow mound measures approximately 22.5m in diameter and, at c.1.7m,
stands close to its original height. Although the barrow is not sited on the
summit of the hill, it occupies a prominent position overlooking the valley to
the south east and stands out clearly against the horizon when viewed from the
valley floor. This setting, in common with many barrows in the region,
indicates a desire to make the mound visible from the prehistoric routes
between the hills. The mound's remarkable state of preservation reflects its
location within the former grounds of Bury Hill Gate, the rectorial manor of
Chesham Latimer. The manor house was demolished around 1800, shortly after the
estate was acquired by the Lowndes family who owned the adjacent property
known as The Bury. The grounds were subsequently opened as a public amenity,
and in 1953 the majority of the park was conveyed to the Urban District
Council. The barrow shows some signs of secondary use. The summit has been
flattened to form a level platform, some 10m across, and fragments of brick
have been noted in two places perhaps indicating the former presence of a
summer house or gazebo.

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

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The bowl barrow in Lowndes Park is very well preserved. The mound stands close
to its original height and there is no evidence that it has ever been
excavated. Funerary remains will survive within and below the mound enabling
valuable insights into the burial practices and the beliefs of the community
which constructed the monument. In addition, the former ground surface, which
lies buried beneath the mound, will retain evidence for the character of the
surrounding area in which it was constructed.
The `Rolling Pin' barrow is an easily appreciated, accessible and highly
significant indication of early settlement in the Chess Valley area.

Source: Historic England


Clarke, A, Ordnance Survey Record Card SP 90 SE 35, (1960)
Discussion of mound's origin, Wise, J, Mound in Chesham Park, (1995)
Research notes filed with SMR, English Heritage, Research notes for Gardens Register : Lowndes park, Chesham, (1990)
Smock Mill at Lacey Green, Birch, C, The Book of Chesham, (1976)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6"
Source Date: 1885

Source: Historic England

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