Ancient Monuments

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Bell barrow 260m WNW of Slough Glebe Farm, part of the Saunderton Lee barrow cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in Bledlow-cum-Saunderton, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.6823 / 51°40'56"N

Longitude: -0.8355 / 0°50'7"W

OS Eastings: 480603.05841

OS Northings: 198814.589813

OS Grid: SU806988

Mapcode National: GBR C33.KL2

Mapcode Global: VHDVQ.GZN6

Entry Name: Bell barrow 260m WNW of Slough Glebe Farm, part of the Saunderton Lee barrow cemetery

Scheduled Date: 19 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013953

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27120

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Bledlow-cum-Saunderton

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Bledlow with Saunderton and Horsenden

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes the buried remains of a Bronze Age bell barrow located
on a low ridge within the broad valley between Bledlow Ridge and Callow Hill,
to the west of the railway line between High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.
The barrow was recorded as a substantial earthwork prior to ploughing in the
last century and although the mound has since been reduced to a maximum height
c.0.4m and is barely visible on the ground, it is recorded as a cropmark in a
series of aerial photographs taken between 1937 and 1981, together with the
buried ditch which encircles the mound and from which the material was
quarried for its construction. The barrow measures approximately 54m in
diameter between the outer edges of the ditch. A dark area, c.25m in diameter,
lies in the centre of the monument and is thought to represent the remains of
a turf stack at the core of the mound. A level area, or berm, separates this
feature from the ditch.

The bell barrow lies in close proximity to four similar monuments (the subject
of separate schedulings). Two bowl barrows are sited together on slightly
higher ground approximately 100m to the north west, and two further barrows
are located down the slope to the south east separated by intervals of
80m and 100m. This group, or cemetery, forms the central part of a wider
alignment of barrows extending across the valley from Bradenham (approximately
1km to the south east) to Wain Hill (some 3.5km to the north west). The
alignment is thought to reflect the route of a prehistoric trackway which,
from the topographical location of this group, appears to have run within a
shallow vale immediately to the south west before continuing northward around
the western side of Lodge Hill.

The bell barrow is apparently unexcavated, although further evidence of
prehistoric activity is provided by numerous flint implements of the period
which have have been recovered from the surface of the adjacent fields.

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

Bell barrows, the most visually impressive form of round barrow, are funerary
monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 1500-1100 BC. They occur either in isolation or in
round barrow cemeteries and were constructed as single or multiple mounds
covering burials, often in pits, and surrounded by an enclosure ditch. The
burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery
and appear to be those of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows
(particularly multiple barrows) are rare nationally, with less than 250 known
examples, most of which are in Wessex. Their richness in terms of grave goods
provides evidence for chronological and cultural links amongst early
prehistoric communities over most of southern and eastern England as well as
providing an insight into their beliefs and social organisation. As a
particularly rare form of round barrow, all identified bell barrows would
normally be considered to be of national importance.

Despite being reduced by cultivation, the bell barrow 260m WNW west of
Slough Glebe Farm will retain significant archaeological information, all the
more interesting given the rarity of this class of monument. Funerary remains
will survive in buried features beneath the area of the mound which will
illustrate the function of the monument and the beliefs of the community which
built it. Further remains, both funerary and otherwise, may also be found in
the fill of the surrounding ditch and in the area of the berm. This will
include environmental evidence relating to the appearance of the landscape in
which the barrow was set.

The bell barrow's position within the barrow cemetery at Saunderton Lee
provides valuable information concerning the variation in prehistoric burial
practices. Furthermore, the cemetery's association with the wider barrow
alignment, and with the contemporary trackway which its orientation implies,
is also highly significant for the study of prehistoric settlement in the
Chiltern Hills.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Head, J F, Early Man in South Buckinghamshire, (1955), 48
Burgess, W, 'Records of Bucks' in Antiquities of the Chiltern Hills, , Vol. 1, (1848), 22
AP held at Bucks County Museums, Farley, M E, A5/15/5A 6A, (1981)
AP held by Bucks Museums Service, Major Allen, SU 80/98, (1937)
AP plot filed under SMR 5649, Allen, D, Bledlow-cum-Saunderton (Molin's Factory) SU 80/98, (1979)
AP sequence 1937 t0 1974, St Joseph, J K S (CUCAP), ACT 33-4, AFW 4-5, ARA 43-4, AST 41,2, BMH 84-5, BRW 1-5, CN 34,
B.C.M. Accessions Register, (1972)
field visit notes, Evans, J G, B.C.M Record card, (1970)
Ordnance Survey Record card, NKB, SU 89 NW 07, (1972)

Source: Historic England

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