Poleswood South long barrow 950m north-west of St Mary`s Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008206

Date first listed: 20-Feb-1948

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Mar-1994


Ordnance survey map of Poleswood South long barrow 950m north-west of St Mary`s Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold (District Authority)

Parish: Swell

National Grid Reference: SP 16731 26361

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.

The Poleswood South 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 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 crest of a ridge 950m north-west of St Mary`s Church overlooking a valley to the south and in the area of the Cotswold Hills. The barrow, known as the Poleswood South long barrow, has a mound composed of small stones; it is trapezoidal in plan and orientated east-west with maximum dimensions of 55m long and 18.5m wide. The mound is upstanding to a height of 2m for 52m of its length, the remainder having been reduced in height by cultivation. Three stones representing the remains of a burial chamber are partially visible at the western end of the mound. There are a number of excavation hollows visible. These include a central trench 10m long, 3m wide and c.0.75m deep, and a quarry at the eastern end 4m in diameter. The first of these is the result of partial excavation by Greenwell and Rolleston in 1874. These investigations revealed that the mound was retained by a drystone wall and that the mound extended around a recess or forecourt in the eastern area. The body of the mound near to the centre included large upright flagstones with large stones resting against them. The western chamber was found to contain the remains of nine human skeletons, animal bones and two pieces of plain Neolithic pottery. The passage which joined this chamber was also found to contain the remains of an adult male, adult female and a child. Flanking each side of the mound is 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. The monument forms one of a group of three long barrows situated within the locality, all of which would originally have been intervisible. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the surrounding land 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: 22876

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 90
Details of the dates of excavations,
Details of the site name,
Details of the structure of the site,

End of official listing