Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Besbury Lane bowl barrow, 450m north east of Conduit Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Churchill, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.923 / 51°55'22"N

Longitude: -1.5716 / 1°34'17"W

OS Eastings: 429558.248727

OS Northings: 225025.054211

OS Grid: SP295250

Mapcode National: GBR 5RL.KGB

Mapcode Global: VHBZ7.QX1Q

Entry Name: Besbury Lane bowl barrow, 450m north east of Conduit Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 19 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015324

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28151

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Churchill

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Churchill

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes an upstanding Bronze Age bowl barrow known locally as
the Besbury Lane barrow situated immediately south of Besbury Lane, 450m north
east of Conduit Farm. The barrow sits on a false crest with views overlooking
slight valleys to the south and west.
The barrow mound, which was planted with trees to create a landscape feature
in the last century, measures 27m in diameter from east-west and stands up to
2.7m high. From north-south its original diameter has been reduced to about
20m by cultivation over time. Its top is roughly level and has a diameter of
9m. There are two slight features cut into this which might represent part
excavation but are more probably collapsed badger tunnels.
Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained
during its construction. The ditch measures about 3m wide and survives as an
infilled feature to the south and around the remainder of the circuit as a
partly infilled feature visible as a c.0.3m deep depression.
The mound is very stony and there is a relatively modern dry stone wall
revetting part of the mound. Its size and flat top suggest that the barrow may
have been reused for burials in the early medieval period.

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

Despite reduction of the southern side of the mound due to cultivation
in the past, the Besbury Lane bowl barrow survives as a good example of its
class and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence
relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.
The barrow may have been reused for burial in the early medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mudd, A, Round Barrows of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, (1983)
PRN 2291, C.A.O., Besbury Lane Round Barrow, (1995)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1980
SP 22 NE

Source: Historic England

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