Long cairn 370m ESE of Mossthorn Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012819

Date first listed: 31-Dec-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Feb-1997


Ordnance survey map of Long cairn 370m ESE of Mossthorn Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Catterlen

National Grid Reference: NY 48289 30440


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Long cairns were constructed as elongated rubble mounds and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (c.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 cairns appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Long cairns sometimes display evidence of internal structural arrangements, including stone-lined compartments and tomb chambers constructed from massive slabs. Some examples also show edge-set kerb stones bounding parts of the cairn perimeter. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funeral activity preceding construction of the cairn, and consequently it is probable that long cairns acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long cairns and long barrows, their counterparts in central and eastern England, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as a visible monument and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all positively identified long cairns are considered to be nationally important.

Despite some plough clipping on the monument's western side, the long cairn 370m ESE of Mossthorn Farm survives reasonably well. It is one of a number of surviving Neolithic and later prehistoric monuments situated in close proximity to Penrith and the Eden valley, and attests to the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a partly mutilated long cairn located 370m ESE of Mossthorn Farm at the extreme southern end of Copt How ridge, from where the ground falls steeply on the west and south sides to a small stream and less steeply on the east side. It includes a turf-covered mound of cobbles and earth up to 4m high measuring c.50m east-west by 43m north-south. A number of urns were reportedly discovered here several years ago but their present whereabouts is unknown.

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: 23766

Legacy System: RSM


FMW Report, Crow, J, Long cairns E of Mossthorn Farm, (1985)
SMR No. 3793, Cumbria SMR, Long cairns E of Mossthorn Farm, (1984)

End of official listing