West Barrow: a long barrow 200m west of Leighterton School


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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This copy shows the entry on 03-Mar-2021 at 18:48:25.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cotswold (District Authority)
Boxwell with Leighterton
National Grid Reference:
ST 81914 91304

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 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. 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 West Barrow long barrow represents a fine example of its class which is known to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This monument represents an example of a group of chambered long barrows commonly referred to as the Cotswold Severn group, named after the area in which they occur. The barrow is unusual for its class in that its northern quarry ditch remains visible as an earthwork.


The monument includes a long barrow situated on level ground in an area of the Cotswold Hills. The barrow, known locally as West Barrow, has a mound composed of small stones; it is trapezoidal in plan and orientated east-west with maximum dimensions of 82m long, 50m wide and up to c.4m high. The mound is flanked on either side by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The southern ditch has become infilled, but survives as a buried feature c.5m wide. On the northern side of the monument the ditch is visible as an earthwork 5m wide and c.0.4m deep. The barrow was partially excavated in around 1700 by Matthew Huntley who uncovered three burial chambers which he described as `vaults arched over'. Each chamber had a separate entrance which was associated with an urn containing cremated human bones and ashes. The interior of each chamber was found to contain the remains of unburnt human skulls and long bones. The dry stone walls overlying the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the underlying ground 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:


Excavation by Huntley in 1700,
Mention of unburnt human remains,
Mention of urns from chambers,


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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