Besbury Lane bowl barrow, 450m north east of Conduit Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015324

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Besbury Lane bowl barrow, 450m north east of Conduit Farm
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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: Churchill

National Grid Reference: SP 29558 25025

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.

Despite reduction of the southern side of the mound due to cultivation in the past, the Besbury Lane bowl barrow survives as a good example of its class and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built. The barrow may have been reused for burial in the early medieval period.


The monument includes an upstanding Bronze Age bowl barrow known locally as the Besbury Lane barrow situated immediately south of Besbury Lane, 450m north east of Conduit Farm. The barrow sits on a false crest with views overlooking slight valleys to the south and west. The barrow mound, which was planted with trees to create a landscape feature in the last century, measures 27m in diameter from east-west and stands up to 2.7m high. From north-south its original diameter has been reduced to about 20m by cultivation over time. Its top is roughly level and has a diameter of 9m. There are two slight features cut into this which might represent part excavation but are more probably collapsed badger tunnels. Surrounding the mound is a quarry ditch from which material was obtained during its construction. The ditch measures about 3m wide and survives as an infilled feature to the south and around the remainder of the circuit as a partly infilled feature visible as a c.0.3m deep depression. The mound is very stony and there is a relatively modern dry stone wall revetting part of the mound. Its size and flat top suggest that the barrow may have been reused for burials in the early medieval period.

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: 28151

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mudd, A, Round Barrows of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, (1983)
PRN 2291, C.A.O., Besbury Lane Round Barrow, (1995)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SP 22 NE

End of official listing