Lower Swell long barrow 400m north-west of St Mary`s Church


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.

Cotswold (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 17029 25782

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.

Despite partial excavations, the Lower Swell long barrow survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This barrow is a good 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 long barrow situated near to the foot of an east facing slope in the area of the Cotswold Hills. The barrow is in an unusual setting for a monument of this class, but its situation can be explained by the view over the confluence of two dry-valleys further to the west. The barrow has a mound which is trapezoidal in plan and orientated broadly east to west. The mound is composed of small stones and has dimensions of 42.3m from east-west and 14.5m from north-south, with a maximum height of c.3m. The barrow, which was first recorded in 1920 by O G S Crawford, does not have any record of excavation, although the narrow trench c.1m wide and 1m deep which cuts across the mound at right angles near to the centre does indicate an antiquarian excavation of this part of the site. The mound has some large stones partially visible at its eastern end and along the southern side; these are likely to indicate the presence of chambers. The barrow occupies a terrace in the hillside and, for this reason, material could only be quarried for the construction of the monument on the southern uphill side. Although the quarry has become partially infilled over the years, it remains visible as an earthwork 14m wide, 42m long and c.3m deep. The monument forms one of a group of three long barrows situated in the locality, all of which were originally intervisible. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the field boundaries, although the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Reference to Crawford identification,


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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