Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

Preserving and Enhancing Access to Historic Oxfordshire
Records of Archaeological Work held by the Ashmolean Museum

Site Name: Adwell

Site Location: South-East Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning

The Manning documentary archive contains details of a barrow mentioned at Adwell Cop. It stands on a detached hillock between Tetworth and Lewknor, near the Chilterns. Surface finds of Iron Age pottery have been found nearby.

One paper states that the barrow was "erected by the Danes" in 1010 during "their Chiltern raid". This idea has subsequently been rejected, but the barrow has been a focus for local folklore. One story states that during the eighteenth century a traveller reported hearing fairies singing at the site: "At Adwell Cop there stands a cup, drink the drink and eat the sop, and set the cup on Adwell Cop".

From 1971 to 1973 the M40 Archaeological Research Group excavated 15 sites along the line of the new M40; the vicinity of Adwell Cop being one of these sites. A small Anglo-Saxon cemetery of three burials, one of a child, was discovered, dating to the 7th century at Postcombe, Lewknor. A bronze buckle provided the only dating evidence. These appear to be the only graves in the area.

The archive also records that an urn was found near the windmill at Adwell Cop, although the whereabouts and date of the urn are unknown.

The site is now covered in trees, as can be seen from the photograph which was taken from the road to Lewknor.


Council for British Archaeology (1973) Group 9: South Midland Archaeology Newsletter, p37

D.A. Hinton (1973) "Anglo-Saxon Burials at Postcombe, Lewknor", Oxoniensia, Vol XXXVIII, p120-123.

W. Page (ed.) (1907) Victoria Country History of Oxfordshire, Vol. II, p345

R. Plot (1705) The Natural History of Oxfordshire, being an essay towards the Natural History of England. 2nd ed., Printed by Leon. Lichfield, Oxford. p333 & p343

Site Photographs

Click on picture to see a larger image
Adwell Cop in the distance
Adwell Cop from the road to Lewknor
(April 2006)
© Copyright University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2006. Last updated: June-2006
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