Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

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

Site Name: Burford

Site Location: West Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning

A stone coffin was found in 1814 a mile from Burford, on a new road being constructed from Upton to Little Barrington. The coffin contained a human skeleton and pieces of metal studded leather - possibly hobnail shoes or sandals. The coffin and its contents were dated as Roman. The remains were removed to the British Museum and the coffin was recorded as being placed in Burford Church in an aisle called 'Sylvesters'.

However, a recent visit to the church, and information gathered from the Verger, revealed that in fact the coffin was never inside the church. It sits by the churchyard wall to the north-west side with other large stones. The verger explained that the second large stone coffin was probably medieval, the stone (half) sitting on top of it was reported to be part of the top of the Roman coffin, and the large stone leaning against the wall was the top of the medieval coffin. One of the other stones, seen in the photographs, could be the other half of the Roman top.


J. Fisher, History of Burford, 1861, p32

J. Monk , History of Burford, 1891, p9

Gentleman's Magazine Library, Archaeology II, 1814, pp597-598

Gentleman's Magazine Library, Archaeology, II, 1886, p187

Site Photographs

Click on picture to see a larger image
Roman coffin outside church
Roman stone coffin outside of Burford Church
(April 2006)
Other tomb at Burford Church
Possible medieval tomb with top of Roman coffin
(April 2006)
Top of tomb
Top of medieval offin
(April 2006)
Tops of other tombs
Possible other half of the top of the Roman coffin
(April 2006)
© Copyright University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2006. Last updated: June-2006
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