Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Brightwell Barrow

A Scheduled Monument in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.623 / 51°37'22"N

Longitude: -1.1691 / 1°10'8"W

OS Eastings: 457619.364502

OS Northings: 191898.6704

OS Grid: SU576918

Mapcode National: GBR 90S.C7P

Mapcode Global: VHCYG.PGBP

Entry Name: Brightwell Barrow

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1934

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018722

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28197

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Brightwell cum Sotwell

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a Bronze Age bowl barrow, later utilised as a tree clump
mound, situated 350m north of Highlands Farm. The barrow occupies the
centre of a north west to south east aligned hill and has clear views in all
directions. It lies 850m south east of the hillfort on Sinodin Hill the
subject of separate scheduling.
The barrow mound survives, despite part reduction by cultivation, as an
upstanding earthwork measuring approximately 30m in diameter and standing up
to 0.3m high. The mound is surrounded by a quarry ditch from which material
was obtained during its construction. This has become infilled over the years
and now lies beneath the edge of the spread mound. This ditch will survive as
a buried feature to its original width of 3m.
The barrow is believed to have been reused as a tree clump mound between
1800-1840 and it still has a ring of mature beech trees around it.
During ploughing the surrounding field has produced Iron Age and early Roman
pottery sherds although the nature of the activity and its relationship to the
barrow is not fully understood. The area as a whole has obviously attracted
human activity over a considerable period of time because of its fertile
agricultural soil, commanding position and the availability of water in easily
accessible springs.

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

Brightwell Barrow survives as a clearly visible monument despite partial
levelling by ploughing and will contain archaeological evidence relating to
its construction and the landscape in which it was built. In addition, it is
situated in an area of prolonged human activity and will provide evidence for
later alterations due to changing practical needs and religious beliefs.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ditchfield, , Page (eds), , The Victoria History of the County of Berkshire: Volume I, (1906), 279

Source: Historic England

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