Oxfordshire's Historic Archives

Historic Oxfordshire

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

Site Name: Benson

Site Location: South-East Oxfordshire
Related Achive: Manning

The Manning archives mainly document the many prehistoric finds made in and around Benson. These finds include:

  • a greenstone handaxe recorded as being in Reading Museum,
  • a flint from Beggars Bush Hill which was in the collection of W.R. Davies of Wallingford, together with other flint implements from the same site that were in the collection of T.H. Powell (AN1911.532, 1918.14, 1918.25),
  • flint implements found between Crowmarsh Battle Farm and Howbury Park that were also in the Powell collection (AN1914.518-519),
  • a flint core found near Benson allotments in June 1901,
  • and a bronze dagger found in 1907 in the Thames, also in the Powell collection before being presented to the Ashmolean Museum (AN1914.735).

Most of the flint implements recorded by Manning as being found in and around Benson were discovered in gravel pits at Turner's Court (AN1911.525, 1917.12), Gould's Grove (AN1911.526, 1911.568-72) and Gould's Heath. (More photographs of some of these finds)

The Manning archive also records other sites such as the castle at Benson, which may have been located to the west of the church. Various artefacts were found near to the castle site, including human and animal bone, spearheads and a bridle. The castle site has since been built over with four houses.

Cropmarks at Gould's Grove are described as showing 'a Late Celtic or Romano-British settlement'. Manning notes the discovery of:

  • Romano-British rubbish pits at Medlers Bank,
  • finds of Romano-British pottery in a pit in Mill Lane, some of which were in collection of T.H. Powell and eventually deposited in the Ashmolean Museum,
  • and Roman pottery from pits in Chapel Lane.

A Roman bronze coin of Constantine II was found at Crowmarsh in a field near the Swan Inn. This was also part of the Powell Collection and is now in the Ashmolean Museum.

Possible Roman burials containing two skeletons were found during gravel digging near Crowmarsh Hill in 1826. Then in 1840 a further four skeletons were found south of Crowmarsh Hill. A Romano-British cemetery may have existed south of Brook Street where a skull was found. Pottery from this cemetery found in various pits was recorded as being in the possession of a Mr Moyen of Wallingford Grammar School (AN1911.634).

Other finds from Benson noted in the Manning archive include a Saxon spearhead and knife found at Battle Farm, and an iron spearhead and axe found at Benson Airfield (Hitchings) in about 1830.


Victoria County History of Oxfordshire, Vol II, p262



Aerial Photographs

Click on picture to see a larger image
Aerial Photograph of Beggars Bush Hill Benson
Photograph of Circular Feature at Beggars Bush Hill, Benson taken by Major Allen on 21 May 1933
(Ref Album 3,39)

Object Photographs

Handaxe from Gould's Heath, Benson (AN1921.14)
Flint handaxe from Gould's Heath, Benson
(view of other side)
Handaxe from Turners Court, Benson (AN1917.12)
Flint handaxe from Turner's Court, Benson
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