Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows and a lime kiln 220m west of Llan Oleu

A Scheduled Monument in Craswall, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0239 / 52°1'25"N

Longitude: -3.084 / 3°5'2"W

OS Eastings: 325717.894708

OS Northings: 236713.850081

OS Grid: SO257367

Mapcode National: GBR F2.GRN5

Mapcode Global: VH786.HDGC

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows and a lime kiln 220m west of Llan Oleu

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014546

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27515

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Craswall

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Craswall

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of two bowl barrows,
one superimposed upon the other, and a lime kiln which has been inserted into
the first barrow mound. The monument is dramatically situated on a spur of
high ground in the foothills of the Black Mountains, overlooking the
headwaters of the River Monnow. The remains include an earthen mound of oval
form, measuring c.25m south west to north east by c.17m transversely. An
almost continuous kerb of large stone blocks is visible around the foot of the
mound, except in the south west quarter where it has been modified by the lime
kiln. This kerb would originally have formed an internal revetment to the foot
of the mound which has subsequently been revealed by erosion. In the north
west the kerb appears to turn inwards along an alignment which probably
represents the original edge of the barrow, subsequently modified by the
construction of the lime kiln. Plough erosion in this area has resulted in a
false foot to the mound some 1.5m beyond the kerb. The barrow has a gently
domed profile and rises to a height of c.1.8m. Material for its construction
will have been quarried from a surrounding ditch, although this has become
infilled and no evidence for it is visible at the surface. Superimposed upon
this barrow is a second earthen mound, again oval in plan, and offset towards
the south west end of the underlying one. This mound measures roughly 10m x 8m
and has a domed profile rising c.1.2m. To the south west and south its sides
merge with that of the barrow beneath, falling steeply to the surrounding
ground level.
The south west quarter of the first barrow has been modified by the insertion
of what is known to be a lime kiln. The remains of this appear as a hollow
measuring c.8m across at the base and rising to the summit of the mound. The
hollow represents the remains of the firing chamber and is now filled with a
large quantity of stones, many of which show signs of heating. The kiln may
have been constructed to provide mortar for the construction of the farm
buildings at nearby Llan Oleu. On the northern side of the hollow a number of
stone slabs form a ledge leading into the chamber, which may be the remains of
the kiln lining, or perhaps a ledge which would have supported a framework
above the hearth, holding the stone for burning.
In its lofty position the monument commands impressive views in all directions
and is clearly visible from below the surrounding area. A footpath passes
below it to the north and Offa's Dyke path passes along the ridge above.

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 monument 220m west of Llan Oleu represents two well preserved examples of
bowl barrows, and their unusual relationship and later use for lime burning
enhances interest in the individual components. The barrow mounds will retain
details of their method of construction and evidence for the burial or burials
within. The surfaces sealed beneath them will retain environmental evidence
for land use immediately prior to their construction, and will preserve dating
evidence to elucidate the time lapse between the completion of the underlying
barrow and the construction of the second. The fills of the surrounding ditch
will preserve evidence for the activities which took place at the monument
throughout the period of its use.
Limekilns have been used in Britain since Roman times to produce lime for
plaster and mortar, for fertilisers, or for use in the tanning and
pharmaceutical industries. The earliest examples are simple structures
consisting of a hearth in the bottom of a pit, which could be clay or stone
lined and may have been dug into a hillside. After the Roman period there was
little demand for mortar until after the Norman Conquest, when the replacement
of timber buildings with stone made limeburning widespread and the kilns
themselves were generally larger and more sophisticated. Medieval limekilns
thus have a wide distribution across the country, while Romano-British
examples are much rarer. They are often associated with the structures for
which the mortar was required, and may have been in use for a single episode
of firing. Many examples, however, were in operation for a more prolonged
period. The limekiln 220m west of Llan Oleu will retain details of its method
of construction and operation. The hearth deposits will preserve evidence for
its date and length of use. Its unusual location and association with the
earlier burial monuments increases interest in the kiln.
The monument as a whole is a notable landmark in the area, easily seen from
Offa's Dyke path on the ridge above, and accessed from the footpath which
passes below it to the north.

Source: Historic England

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