Nympsfield long barrow 500m south of Hill Farm Cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stroud (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 79385 01327

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 long barrows are recorded in England. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Nympsfield long barrow survives well and is known from partial excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is a well known and good example of a long barrow in the group (of long barrows) commonly referred to as the Cotswold Severn group, named after the region in which they occur. This is one of very few oval long barrows which belong to the group.


The monument includes a chambered long barrow situated on the western edge of a limestone plateau overlooking the valley of the River Severn to the west and north west. The monument, which is known as the Nympsfield long barrow, has a mound which is almost oval in plan, with dimensions of 30m from east to west, 25m from north to south at the western end and 30m from north to south at the eastern end. The mound is composed of small stones and has a maximum height of c.1.1m. At the eastern end of the mound is a forecourt in the form of a recess flanked by projections of the mound. This forecourt has dimensions of 4m by 4.5m and leads into an east facing entrance defined by two standing stones. Beyond the entrance is a stone gallery, now unroofed, and which leads into a pair of side chambers and an end chamber. The remains of at least 13 human skeletons as well as Neolithic pottery were recovered from these chambers, the associated gallery and from the surrounding mound during excavations by Professor Buckman in 1862 and Mrs Clifford in 1937. These excavations also found later Neolithic pottery within the blocking of the entrance to the burial chamber, suggesting that the gallery was closed before the end of the Neolithic period. The mound is flanked on each side by a quarry ditch from which material was taken during the construction of the monument. These ditches have become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.3m wide. The monument has been in State care since 1975. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to field boundaries, and the public notice board, although the underlying ground is included.

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:
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Books and journals
Corcoran, JXWP, Megalithic enquiries in the west of Britiain, (1969), 84
Daniel, G E, The Prehistoric Chamber Tombs of the British Isles, (1950), 132
Discussion of excavations at site,
Mention of early ploughing over site,
The name of the monument,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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