Long barrow and two bowl barrows, 200m south east of Chapelcombe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019239

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow and two bowl barrows, 200m south east of Chapelcombe
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Bigbury

National Grid Reference: SX 66671 47008


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

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.

The long barrow south east of Chapelcombe is one of only seven known in Devon, the majority being on the fringes of Dartmoor. Like the other known examples in the county, there may be a simple stone chamber at the wider, southern end. The mound's relatively short length gives it a squat appearance which may be misleading, as some of the tail may have been cut away by the construction of the lane to the east. As is common with long barrows, this example is aligned north east to south west, yet its proximal end is, unusually, at the south west. The apparent lack of side ditches is typical of long barrows in upland areas, as is its low profile. The cropmark at the proximal end with no evidence of robbing suggests an intact or partly preserved chamber. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400 to 1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. The alignment of the two bowl barrows at right angles to the Neolithic long barrow is rare in England and unique in Devon, where no other such associations are known. The level of survival of burials within these barrows is likely to be good, as they survive to a good height with no evidence of robbing.


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


The monument includes three barrows on a WNW to ESE alignment, on a level hilltop. The western mound represents a Neolithic long barrow on a north east to south west axis. It is of tapering form, with the south west end 37.5m wide and 0.4m high. The north east end is 22m wide by 0.2m high and the total length is 60m. No flanking ditches are visible. The barrow is composed of orange sandy soil with many fragments of slate. A cropmark at the south west end of the mound suggests the presence of a buried stone chamber. A flint core of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age date was picked up on the south side of this associated cropmark. The central mound represents a small bowl barrow of late Neolithic to Bronze Age date, between 29m and 34m diameter, and 0.8m high. The eastern mound, also representing a bowl barrow, is the largest in the group and is slightly oval, between 43.5m and 50m diameter and 1.7m high. The lane passing along the north east side has cut into the mound, removing a segment of between 10m and 15m thick, although buried deposits will survive beneath this level of disturbance. Both of the bowl barrow mounds are composed of orange sandy soil with many large pieces of white quartz scattered over the surface. Although no longer visible at ground level, a buried ditch will surround each of the bowl barrow mounds. The modern road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33748

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society' in The Barrows of South and East Devon, , Vol. 41, (1983), 5-46

End of official listing