Bowl barrow at Molin's Works, part of the Saunderton Lee round barrow cemetery


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013955

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Bowl barrow at Molin's Works, part of the Saunderton Lee round barrow cemetery
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Feb-2019 at 15:12:27.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Wycombe (District Authority)

Parish: Bledlow-cum-Saunderton

National Grid Reference: SU 80718 98634

Reasons for Designation

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 protection.

Although the bowl barrow on the north west side of the Molin's Works is no longer visible as an earthwork, the buried features will survive well and will retain significant archaeological information. Funerary remains will survive in buried features within the area of the mound, illustrating the function of the monument and the beliefs of the community which built it. The encircling ditch (now infilled) from which the mound material was quarried will also survive, containing further funerary remains and other artefacts, as well as environmental evidence which will provide information on the landscape in which it was set.

The association between this barrow and the other barrows which comprise the cemetery centred on Saunderton Lee is highly significant for the study of prehistoric activity in the Chiltern Hills. Comparison between the monuments will provide an insight into the variety of burial practices employed in this area and the duration of the associated settlements.


The monument includes the buried remains of a Bronze Age bowl barrow situated within the grounds of Molin's Works, which is located in broad valley between Bledlow Ridge and Callows Hill. Approximately 70% of the monument lies beneath an area of lawn on the factory's Haw Lane; the remaining part is overlain by a modern building.

Although no earthworks can now be seen on the ground, the barrow appeared as a substantial earthwork until the late 19th century, after which it was reduced by ploughing. The mound was partially excavated in 1858, and is shown on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map (1885), measuring approximately 28m in diameter. The southern third of the barrow's total area (including the surrounding ditch) lies beneath a modern factory building. This construction has not affected the central burial area and further buried remains, including the encircling ditch, are considered to remain substantially intact and to retain valuable archaeological information.

The barrow forms part of a small round barrow cemetery which includes a bell barrow and three bowl barrows (the subject of separate schedulings) situated in the ploughed fields immediately to the north, and a further bowl barrow recorded in the 1960s which is now overlain by factory buildings. This cemetery, in turn, forms part of a wider alignment of barrows which extends across the valley from Saunderton Station (0.5km 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, given the topographical position of the Saunderton Lee cemetery, appears to follow a shallow coombe immediately to the west before continuing northwards around the western side of Lodge Hill. Further prehistoric activity in the immediate area is demonstrated by the number of worked flint artefacts, of approximately the same period as the barrow, which have been recovered from the fields to the north west and south of the factory.

The new building overlying the southern part of the barrow is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 27122

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Head, J F, Early Man in South Buckinghamshire, (1955), 49-53
Burgess, W, 'Records of Bucks' in Antiquities of the Chiltern Hills, , Vol. 1, (1848), 22
Dyer, J F, 'Archaeological Journal' in Barrows of the Chilterns, , Vol. 116, (1959), 2-24
5649 Round Barrow cemetery,
B.C.M. Accessions Register, (1972)
Matthews, C L and Wainwright, A, National Trust Archaeological Survey - Bradenham, (1990)
Ordnance Survey Record card, NKB, SU 89 NW 07, (1972)
RCHM, The Monuments of Buckinghamshire,
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Source Date: 1885 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing