Belas Knap long barrow 600m ESE of Hill Barn Farm


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.

Tewkesbury (District Authority)
Tewkesbury (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 02093 25426

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.

Belas Knap long barrow survives remarkably 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 outstanding example representing a group of long barrows commonly referred to as the Cotswold-Severn group, named after the area in which they occur.


The monument includes a chambered long barrow situated just below the crest of a prominent ridge with panoramic views. The barrow, known as the Belas Knap long barrow, has a mound trapezoidal in plan, orientated north-south and defined by a dry-stone revetment wall. The mound is 70m from north-south, 26m wide at the northern end, 17m wide at the southern end and has a maximum height of c.3m. At the northern end of the mound there is a forecourt consisting of a recess flanked by two projections of mound. This is fronted by a `false entrance` consisting of two standing stones and a lintel stone. This entrance was never associated with an internal passage and so could not have provided a physical means of access into the monument. The `false entrance` is instead likely to have been constructed in association with the forecourt in order to provide the visual effect, of an entrance. Four burial chambers have been identified within the mound; these are situated in the south-east, north-east, west and southern areas of the monument. The chambers were roofed with slabs of limestone and defined by dry-stone walling; each was approached separately through an entrance situated in the side of the mound. The monument was partially excavated between 1863-65 and again by W J Hemp in 1928. The `false entrance` was found to cover the remains of six human skeletons including five infants which are thought to represent Early Bronze Age interments. The south-eastern chamber contained the remains of two male and two female human skeletons along with animal bones and flint artefacts. The north-eastern chamber contained 12 inhumations, the western chamber contained 14 inhumations and the southern chamber a single inhumation. In addition, another six or seven interments were recovered from at least one of the chambers by W Ashton between 1870-90. The monument was restored by the Ministry of Works between 1929-31. The mound is flanked on each side by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. These have become infilled over the years, but survive as buried features c.5m wide. There is a Bronze Age bowl barrow 80m to the south-west of the long barrow and the two monuments are intervisible. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the field boundaries, although the ground beneath these features 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
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89


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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