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


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Bell barrow 260m WNW of Slough Glebe Farm, part of the Saunderton Lee barrow cemetery
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wycombe (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SU 80603 98815

Reasons for Designation

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.


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.

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:
Legacy System:


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)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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