All are welcome to have tea and cake and talk about the heritage and environment of the village. More information to follow.

2019: Sunday 15 SEPTEMBER: Council for British Archaeology East Midlands Boundary Project

The Heritage and Archaeology Group are participating in the CBAs boundary project, which is designed to involve local groups in a regional exercise to map their local parish boundaries and identify features of archaeological and historic interest that mark them.  The result will be a unique online resource accessible to anyone with an interest in historic landscapes and will serve as an important record.  The recording involves starting with the current civil parish boundary map, identifying areas we are allowed to walk and then going out and recording what we find.  The data will be recorded in the CBA’s project database. 

There will be a meeting in the Village Hall 2.30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday 15th September to look at maps and decided on areas of interest to walk, please bring along any maps you have that might be useful.  The first walk will be on Sunday 22nd September, leaving The Green at 2 p.m. Regards

2019- Sunday 21July: Festival of Archaeology event: " Do You Know Your Parish" 2-5pm Great Bowden Village Hall. 

Explore the Exhibition: Do you know your parish?
Take part in the Boundary Project-guided walk at 2pm from Village Hall. About 2 miles. (Weather permitting)
Exchange ideas and information
Find our about volunteering
Enjoy teas and home made cakes

2018-December: Reports on our work since 2005 are now being put on the Archaeology Data Service website. The link is: http://the%20link%20is%20http//archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/greylit/browse.cfm?unit=Great%20Bowden%20Heritage

Also, reports of 30 pits dug 2013-2014 under Access Cambridge Archaeology and Carenza Lewis are here: http://https//doi.org/10.5284/1034489

2018-June: Our group enjoyed a day out to Nassington Prebendal Manor and then Oundle School Chapel. The Manor is certainly a hidden gem, dating back to the Anglo Saxon period. The School chapel is relatively recent (1920s), but contains a wide range of 20th/21st century stained glass.

       The Manor and Garden         

2018: Great Bowden Neighbourhood Plan. Work on this started in 2016. GBHA has been associated mostly with the Environment Section and have produced a field by field guide of the remaining ridge and furrow and other earthworks in the parish. Full details of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan can be found on the Parish Council website. http://www.greatbowdenparishcouncil.org.uk/supporting-information/

2018 - February: OASIS Some of our Reports have been uploaded onto the Archaeology Data Service, Grey Literature site - OASIS. They should be appearing on the site shortly once verified by the National Monuments Record.  We were requested to do this by English Heritage and feel it is a safe long term archive for our research work. The remaining reports will be uploaded during 2018.  The reports date back to 2005 and some of the earlier ones need a bit of work to improve presentation.

2017-2018 - Winter  We are having a quiet period through this winter.  We hope to re start our outdoor activities in the Spring when the ground is a little less muddy and the weather a little warmer.  Currently there are no fixed plans for excavations but there will be some geo-phys training and survey work.  We are considering taking part in the East Midlands Parish Boundary survey.

2017-June-September: Bowden Ridge Research, 3 digs. Full reports under Bowden Ridge Research-Digs on the ridge page on this website.

2017-June: Group Outing

On a very hot day in June the group outing was to the Battle of Bosworth Heritage Centre near Market Bosworth. We had a very enjoyable day exploring the site and viewing the excellent exhibition there.

It was a particular memorable day as one of our members,  Alf Herbert, a local stone mason, had carved a plaque in 1985 for the centre to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth.  The centre’s staff and the rest of our group were very keen to have a photograph. Alf with his handiwork.                           

2017 - September:  Logo

The Heritage group has a new Logo which we are putting on all our reports etc. We hope it is sufficiently eye catching to immediately associate any piece of work with Great Bowden Heritage & Archaeology.



The logo comprises a square or diamond shape of grass - so often under our feet when we carry out our research be it through excavations, geo phys surveys or just walking and studying the fields.  The letters GBHA are in Lithos Pro font.

2017-April: Human Remains Course

Following on from the course in Lutterworth, we had our own Human Remains course in in the Village Hall 
We invited Teresa Hawtin -an osteoarchaeologist to come and talk to us about human and animal bones. This involved the study of three medieval human skeletons which we very carefully laid out in the hall and a collection of animal bones from a recent test pit dig.

There is always the very slight possibility that we could uncover human bones in our excavations and so it is essential that we all know how to deal with them, particularly the diggers who will encounter them first.

We learnt about the human skeleton and how you can tell whether it is male or female, how old the person was when they died and any wounds or malformations that could have affected their life or led to their death and how fractures and wounds look when they have healed. We also compared the feel and structure of human bones compared to animal bones and of course what to do in the event of uncovering human remains.

We received information about the different types of burial and cremations and the health and safety aspects of excavating burials. We discussed the effect of heat and soil on bones and also how to record what you have found on the relevant forms.

It was a very interesting day which gave us much to think about. 

We don’t think any graves have been found in the Bowden Ridge area which we are researching at the moment and so presumably, because of evidence of a sizable population, there are burials or cremations dating from the Iron Age onwards on the ridge somewhere


2017 January - 2 members attended the trial Human Remains Course in Lutterworth. We hope to have our own course for those members involved in excavations soon.

2017 January - 2 members attended a tour of the large mostly Roman period excavation being carried out by ULAS between Highcross Street and Vaughan Way prior to development. See details on ULAS News website.

2016 November - Annual feast for members.  See our Facebook page.  Usual excellent food produced by our own hard working chefs.

2016 September - sad news of the death of Liz, one of our key members.  Liz looked after this website.  We will endeavour to keep up the good work.

2016 July 30-31 - BRR/16/2 Excavation.  See Report on this website under Bowden Ridge Research/Digs on the Ridge.   The Roman period horned bull’s skull and the pottery (much of it Roman) spent some time at Leicester University being looked at and identified.

2016 June 29 - Annual group outing to Lyveden New Bield.  Excellent tour but very wet weather - see our Facebook page for more, including photos.

2016 June 12 - BRR/16/1 Excavation.  See Report on this website under Bowden Ridge Research/Digs on the Ridge.  Small number of finds, including an early Roman jar rim and new members joined the team.

2016 June 1 Magnetometry at St Mary in Arden  The weather was cold but dry and more like early spring but at least it was dry and 5 members of the group joined 2 members from Hallaton Fieldworkers and helped with the magnetometry survey of most of the churchyard area. We will compare the results with our own resistivity survey done in 2004.  It was even colder then but it was November!  We were very impressed with the speed of the survey compared to our own efforts.  

 After discussion we found we probably had been given the grids from the original resistivity survey in 2004 orientated in the wrong direction and adjusted them, made more sense of the read out.
See St Mary in Arden Geo phys. on this website.

2016 May 15 - GBO/16/38 Last pit under the CORS project on Middle Green Great Bowden.  See photos etc. on our Facebook page.Lovely day, good company and a special 80th birthday to celebrate.  But the pit got very full of immovable objects and reduced our ability to excavate to a small corner.  Any ideas why a large lump of lime mortar  (and it extended well beyond the pit) found its way under the lawn?  The existence of the plastic drainage pipe was also unknown to
the house owners. 



2016 April - The Lighthouse that never was......     As part of our research into the history of Bowden Ridge we have been asking people if they remember a beacon on top of the hill near to Burnmill Road.   Our source of this information was Ordnance Survey Sheet SP78 1:25000 published in 1954.  

The symbol looked very similar to a lighthouse but of course not in Market Harborough and so we thought maybe it was a beacon warning aircraft of the hill on their approach to the wartime airfield near Gartree Prison. However a member of the group with good eyesight pointed out that it is a combination of OS symbols.  The hachures marking the earthworks of the old reservoir, a small circular building presumably on the reservoir roof and a trig. point (triangulation station) placed on top.

So having created a myth we are pleased to dispel it. And maybe we should make an appointment at Specsavers!  And not one of the features is still there.

2016 May - Bowden Ridge Research 

Research is continuing with frequent visits to the Leicestershire Records Office and information will be uploaded onto this website as sections are completed.  We have so far put up a small article with references to the three windmills that were known in this area. We have done several observational walks to date and have test pit digs in gardens planned for June and  July. There is also an article on the roads over the hill with interesting profiles of the hill at both Station Road and Burnmill Road and one on the Workhouse, St Lukes Hospital site on Leicester Road which is requesting more information.


2016 April 30 - University of Lincoln  Five members of the Heritage Group attended the Conference of the Medieval Settlement Research Group arranged by Professor Carenza Lewis at the University of Lincoln and gave a presentation on our recent test pit project, Dig for Bowden's Hidden Past which was part of the Currently Occupied Rural Settlement project.

An adapted text of the presentation can be found on this website under Dig for Bowden's Hidden Past CORS 2013-16.

2016 April 9 - GBO/16/27  The first dig of 2016 and the weather was kind. Today there are a few remnants left of Middle Green which was once much more extensive.  Tree roots were not too much of a problem but we found layer after layer of hardcore and cobbles etc. indicating this was once, and for a long period, a route across the green.  

Older news about Search for Bowden's Hidden Past and the CORS project can be found on the main page for that project