Ancient Monuments

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Belas Knap long barrow 600m ESE of Hill Barn Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Sudeley, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.9274 / 51°55'38"N

Longitude: -1.9709 / 1°58'15"W

OS Eastings: 402098.677772

OS Northings: 225429.030125

OS Grid: SP020254

Mapcode National: GBR 3NF.0K4

Mapcode Global: VHB1K.STFB

Entry Name: Belas Knap long barrow 600m ESE of Hill Barn Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1922

Last Amended: 24 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22868

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Sudeley

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a chambered long barrow situated just below the crest of
a prominent ridge with panoramic views.
The barrow, known as the Belas Knap long barrow, has a mound trapezoidal in
plan, orientated north-south and defined by a dry-stone revetment wall. The
mound is 70m from north-south, 26m wide at the northern end, 17m wide at the
southern end and has a maximum height of c.3m.
At the northern end of the mound there is a forecourt consisting of a recess
flanked by two projections of mound. This is fronted by a `false entrance`
consisting of two standing stones and a lintel stone. This entrance was never
associated with an internal passage and so could not have provided a physical
means of access into the monument. The `false entrance` is instead likely to
have been constructed in association with the forecourt in order to provide
the visual effect, of an entrance.
Four burial chambers have been identified within the mound; these are situated
in the south-east, north-east, west and southern areas of the monument. The
chambers were roofed with slabs of limestone and defined by dry-stone walling;
each was approached separately through an entrance situated in the side of the
The monument was partially excavated between 1863-65 and again by W J Hemp in
1928. The `false entrance` was found to cover the remains of six human
skeletons including five infants which are thought to represent Early Bronze
Age interments. The south-eastern chamber contained the remains of two male
and two female human skeletons along with animal bones and flint artefacts.
The north-eastern chamber contained 12 inhumations, the western chamber
contained 14 inhumations and the southern chamber a single inhumation. In
addition, another six or seven interments were recovered from at least one of
the chambers by W Ashton between 1870-90.
The monument was restored by the Ministry of Works between 1929-31.
The mound is flanked on each side by 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.
There is a Bronze Age bowl barrow 80m to the south-west of the long barrow and
the two monuments are intervisible.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and gates relating to the
field boundaries, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Belas Knap long barrow survives remarkably 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 outstanding example representing a group of long barrows
commonly referred to as the Cotswold-Severn group, named after the area in
which they occur.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89
O`Neil, H E, Grinsell, L V, 'Proc of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Arch Soc' in Gloucestershire Barrows, , Vol. 179, (1960), 88-89

Source: Historic England

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