Two bowl barrows and a lime kiln 220m west of Llan Oleu


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014546

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Two bowl barrows and a lime kiln 220m west of Llan Oleu
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Craswall

National Grid Reference: SO 25718 36714


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

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.

The monument 220m west of Llan Oleu represents two well preserved examples of bowl barrows, and their unusual relationship and later use for lime burning enhances interest in the individual components. The barrow mounds will retain details of their method of construction and evidence for the burial or burials within. The surfaces sealed beneath them will retain environmental evidence for land use immediately prior to their construction, and will preserve dating evidence to elucidate the time lapse between the completion of the underlying barrow and the construction of the second. The fills of the surrounding ditch will preserve evidence for the activities which took place at the monument throughout the period of its use. Limekilns have been used in Britain since Roman times to produce lime for plaster and mortar, for fertilisers, or for use in the tanning and pharmaceutical industries. The earliest examples are simple structures consisting of a hearth in the bottom of a pit, which could be clay or stone lined and may have been dug into a hillside. After the Roman period there was little demand for mortar until after the Norman Conquest, when the replacement of timber buildings with stone made limeburning widespread and the kilns themselves were generally larger and more sophisticated. Medieval limekilns thus have a wide distribution across the country, while Romano-British examples are much rarer. They are often associated with the structures for which the mortar was required, and may have been in use for a single episode of firing. Many examples, however, were in operation for a more prolonged period. The limekiln 220m west of Llan Oleu will retain details of its method of construction and operation. The hearth deposits will preserve evidence for its date and length of use. Its unusual location and association with the earlier burial monuments increases interest in the kiln. The monument as a whole is a notable landmark in the area, easily seen from Offa's Dyke path on the ridge above, and accessed from the footpath which passes below it to the north.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of two bowl barrows, one superimposed upon the other, and a lime kiln which has been inserted into the first barrow mound. The monument is dramatically situated on a spur of high ground in the foothills of the Black Mountains, overlooking the headwaters of the River Monnow. The remains include an earthen mound of oval form, measuring c.25m south west to north east by c.17m transversely. An almost continuous kerb of large stone blocks is visible around the foot of the mound, except in the south west quarter where it has been modified by the lime kiln. This kerb would originally have formed an internal revetment to the foot of the mound which has subsequently been revealed by erosion. In the north west the kerb appears to turn inwards along an alignment which probably represents the original edge of the barrow, subsequently modified by the construction of the lime kiln. Plough erosion in this area has resulted in a false foot to the mound some 1.5m beyond the kerb. The barrow has a gently domed profile and rises to a height of c.1.8m. Material for its construction will have been quarried from a surrounding ditch, although this has become infilled and no evidence for it is visible at the surface. Superimposed upon this barrow is a second earthen mound, again oval in plan, and offset towards the south west end of the underlying one. This mound measures roughly 10m x 8m and has a domed profile rising c.1.2m. To the south west and south its sides merge with that of the barrow beneath, falling steeply to the surrounding ground level. The south west quarter of the first barrow has been modified by the insertion of what is known to be a lime kiln. The remains of this appear as a hollow measuring c.8m across at the base and rising to the summit of the mound. The hollow represents the remains of the firing chamber and is now filled with a large quantity of stones, many of which show signs of heating. The kiln may have been constructed to provide mortar for the construction of the farm buildings at nearby Llan Oleu. On the northern side of the hollow a number of stone slabs form a ledge leading into the chamber, which may be the remains of the kiln lining, or perhaps a ledge which would have supported a framework above the hearth, holding the stone for burning. In its lofty position the monument commands impressive views in all directions and is clearly visible from below the surrounding area. A footpath passes below it to the north and Offa's Dyke path passes along the ridge above.

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: 27515

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing