Barrow Place earthwork, 370m south west of Lodge Farm, Ditchley


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013235

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Barrow Place earthwork, 370m south west of Lodge Farm, Ditchley
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: West Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Spelsbury

National Grid Reference: SP 39101 19628


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Romano-Celtic temples were built to meet the spiritual needs of the communities they served by venerating the god or spirit considered to dwell in a particular place. The temple building was regarded as the treasure house of its deity and priests rather than as a congregational building and any religious activities, including private worship, communal gatherings, sanctuary and healing, took place outside. Romano-Celtic temples included the temple building and a surrounding sacred precinct or temenos which could be square, circular, rectangular or polygonal in ground plan. The temple building invariably faced due east and was the focus of the site, although it did not necessarily occupy the central position in the temenos. It comprised a cella, or inner temple chamber, an ambulatory or walkway around the cella, and sometimes annexes or antechambers. The buildings were constructed of a variety of materials, including stone, cob and timber, and walls were often plastered and painted both internally and externally. Some temenoi enclosed other buildings, often substantial and built in materials and styles similar to those of the temple; these are generally interpreted as priests' houses, shops or guest houses. Romano-Celtic temples were built and used throughout the Roman period from the mid first century AD to the late fourth/early fifth century AD, with individual examples being used for relatively long periods of time. They were widespread throughout southern and eastern England, although there are no examples in the far south west and they are rare nationally with only about 150 sites recorded in England. In view of their rarity and their importance in contributing to the complete picture of Roman religious practice, including its continuity from Iron Age practice, all Romano-Celtic temples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

The earthwork known as Barrow Place has been interpreted as a Romano-Celtic temple and, as such, it survives particularly well despite partial quarrying along its south western side. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function and the landscape in which it was built. This is one of several similar earthworks to survive in this area of Oxfordshire.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a roughly square earthwork enclosure which has been interpreted as a Romano-Celtic temple. It is situated 370m south west of Lodge Farm on a gentle north facing slope. The monument has a single circuit of bank and outer ditch with sides of c.50m in length, which encloses a level interior of 0.3ha. The flat sides face north east, south east, south west and north west. The bank measures between 5m and 7m wide and 1m high with a 2m wide level walkway along its top. Field investigation has shown the bank to be of a packed stone construction. The surrounding quarry ditch provided material for the construction of the bank and, although overgrown, survives to between 5m and 7m wide and 0.4m deep. There is evidence of a slight counterscarp bank 0.7m wide and up to 0.2m high on the north western side of the enclosure. An area of quarrying along the line of the ditch on the south western side of the monument has created a waterlogged depression which has obscured the line of the bank. Iron Age Roman pottery has been recovered from the site. Excluded from the scheduling is the post and wire fence which surrounds much of the monument, although the ground beneath remains included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21822

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Copeland, T, 'Oxoniensia' in The North Oxfordshire Grim's Ditch : A Fieldwork Survey, (1984), 286
PRN 1269, C.A.O., Barrow Piece Field, (1975)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 31 NE

End of official listing