Ancient Monuments

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Long barrow north of Skelmore Heads, 300m north east of Woodside Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Pennington, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1693 / 54°10'9"N

Longitude: -3.1131 / 3°6'47"W

OS Eastings: 327426.747289

OS Northings: 475401.599859

OS Grid: SD274754

Mapcode National: GBR 6NP7.T6

Mapcode Global: WH72C.4GTM

Entry Name: Long barrow north of Skelmore Heads, 300m NE of Woodside Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 July 1964

Last Amended: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013962

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27689

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Pennington

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Urswick St Mary Virgin and St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a long barrow located on a slight terrace on the
hillslope north of a low flat-topped hill known locally as Skelmore Heads. It
is aligned east-west and includes a partly mutilated mound of earth and stones
with maximum dimensions of 22m long by 13m wide. Towards its eastern end it
measures up to 1.3m high but the barrow tapers down towards the western end
where it measures approximately 0.5m high. There are two upright stones
located within the barrow towards its eastern end; these protrude
approximately 0.5m amd 0.3m high above the surface of the monument. Limited
excavation undertaken in 1957 revealed that there had been some unrecorded
disturbance between the two stone uprights. This disturbance may correspond to
digging which took place c.1930 when finds of bone and pottery were made.
During the 1957 excavation, the stumps of a further two stone uprights were
located towards the western end of the barrow. These uprights are in alignment
with the two larger upright stones towards the eastern end of the barrow and
are regarded by the excavator as an important element in the ritual laying out
of the monument.
A drystone wall on the monument's northern side is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 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 some disturbance by a combination of unrecorded digging and limited
excavation, the long barrow north of Skelmore Heads survives reasonably well.
Bone and pottery is known to have been found here and further evidence of
interments and grave goods will exist within the barrow and upon the old
landsurface beneath. Additionally the barrow is an unusual example of this
class of monument in that it is both unusually small, and it appears to have
been constructed around a spinal row of standing stones.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kenyon, D, The Origins of Lancashire, (1991), 29-32
Powell, T G E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Excavations At Skelmore Heads Near Ulverston 1957 And 1959, , Vol. LXIII, (1963), 1-30
Powell, T G E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Tumulus At Skelmore Heads Near Ulverston, , Vol. LXXII, (1972), 53-6

Source: Historic England

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