Gatcombe long barrow, 400m east of Gatcombe 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.

Stroud (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 88366 99710

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 excavation, the Gatcombe long barrow survives well and is known to 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 barrow is unusual in that it has its burial chambers arranged laterally around the edges of the mound, unlike some of the other long barrows known in the region which have a central gallery with side chambers attached within the centre of the monument.


The monument includes a long barrow situated on level ground 400m east of Gatcombe Farm. It overlooks a valley to the south and west and is set in the Cotswold Hills. The barrow, which is sometimes known as the Gatcombe Lodge long barrow, has a mound composed of small stones, is trapezoidal in plan, and orientated north east to south west with maximum dimensions of 62m in length and 25m in width. The long barrow has a height of c.2m at the eastern end and 1.5m at the western end. Flanking the mound on each side 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 long barrow was partially excavated by S Lyons in 1870 and was found to have a forecourt or recess which was flanked by extensions of the barrow mound. Within this was a `false entrance' or blocked doorway set into the mound, but which could not have provided physical access into the monument. Within the blocking associated with the `false entrance', a human skull, animal bones and potsherds were found. The mound was also found to have a dry stone revetment wall and this is thought to have enclosed the entire barrow mound. The revetment wall remains visible as a stoney outcrop on the southern side of the monument. In 1871 workmen discovered a burial chamber on the north eastern side of the monument about 9.75m from the false entrance. The chamber was composed of drystone walling and had five upright slabs, with an entrance defined by two additional upright slabs and a large slab as a roof; it was found to contain an inhumation burial. This chamber remains visible as a group of three large stones protruding from a deep depression on the north eastern side of the monument. This monument forms one of at least three long barrows which occur as a dispersed group in the vicinity.

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:


Discovery of burial chamber in 1871,
Mention of 1870 excavations by Lyons,
Mention of dry-stone revetment wall,
Mention of finds from 1870 excavation,
Structure of burial chamber and finds,


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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