My last site of the day – and a pretty good one it was as well!
After initially having difficulty finding the right country lane to access the site I eventually parked up near the correct field gate / public footpath sign.
The Barrow is easily seen from the field gate and a 5 minute walk takes you up close and personal. This was the only site I visited today which involved walking through mud.
As I approached the Barrow pheasants went scurrying across the field and a group of crows were making quite a racket in the woods to my left.
The Barrow has two tall uprights remaining and a large half fallen capstone. There is a large shrub/tree of some sort growing out from under the capstone which looks as though it has been growing there for quite a number of years. The Barrow must have been quite prominent when first built in this flat landscape.
The field had been ploughed and crops were already showing. Small wooden stakes painted red were pegged in the ground around the Barrow to signify the extent of the 'protected' area.
Well worth a visit when in the area and fairly close the picturesque village of Castle Combe.
Inspired by Scubi's recent little solstice film, I was determined to see this barrow. Tonight (or rather yesterday) I seized on the opportunity on our way to Box to persuade a friend to drive by and stop for a bit.
A quiet country lane under an M4 bridge, somehow we just went straight to it. The barrow was at the far end of a field of maze so we walked along the hedgerow then carefully stepped through the maze crop to take a closer look. Although the grass around the barrow had been cut back, the barrow itself was very overgrown. The elder tree has sprung back into life, as elders seem to do; the most resilient of hedgerow trees. I'm not sure that it can be thwarted even though it presence is not welcome.
I have to agree with Scubi - the elder tree is getting huge and the right hand stone is completely inaccessible behind brambles. I feel like something ought to be done before the whole lot disappears under a mound of vegetation. Not that I want a pristine site devoid of plants, but this is starting to go too far. The big slab is still relatively clear and touchable though, with its lovely pinky colour and soft dips. The size of the stones makes this place really Monumental.
Went to this site on 23/07/04. It was very overgrown - if you really want a good look at the stones you should come earlier in the year.
This is the first site I have been to with a mind for putting something on this website. It's only about two miles from my door, so it was a good one to start on!
Even with it on the doorstep, I was so glad that I did come to this longbarrow- the site looks like an old ruined cottage from the road - indeed a friend of mine, Spread Thenley, had talked about investigating 'that house in the field' once.
There is a parking place big enough for 1 car at the gate to the field, and you simply walk until you hit the longbarrow.
From the side, it is inspiring to see the length of this, though my daughters didn't seem to understand the significance of it all - they were too busy looking for the golden wheelbarrow.
I have taken some photographs of the stones and will upload them when I can get the time to process them - they show something slightly odd. On the left hand standing stone (as you apprach from the gate), there are some clear markings of wearing on the stone - indicating that they have been moved a great distance. I am a complete novice to this game and have never studied anything about this age until I found Julian's book, so forgive me if this is not of importance, but I am surprised no one else has reported on these markings.
Anyway, come back soon and I'll have the images in place.
Thanks for reading to the end for those of you that got this far!
I was here halfway through August. The portal stones were overgrown and there were lots of nosey cows about but this place is impressive nonetheless. The field is called Three Stone Field, the central stone is 12ft by 6ft and the mound was 219ft long by 78 ft wide.There was a grave at the eastern end containing the crouched skeleton of a young man. There were four chambers at the south eastern side, one was empty, the others contained twenty-six skeletons in total.
Walking across the field to the longbarrow I realised it was much bigger than I remembered. The bump of the mound stretches out a hugely long way. Was the barrow really that long and wide, or is it
just the result of being ploughed so much? And if it is due to ploughing, well that still hints that the barrow was pretty high to begin with.
I wandered right round the end of the mound - although most of it has been left with tufty vegetation, the edges of it have still been mown at some point, which distorts your idea of how extensive the mound is. According to the information at magic.gov there are flanking ditches, from which the material for the mound was quarried, which run parallel to the long sides of the mound. These were about 3 metres wide but have been infilled gradually.
The stones are pretty enormous, and beautifully patterned with lichens and mosses against the warm colour of the stone. The capstone is quite something - about 3 by 2 metres, leaning firmly against the two uprights. I saw what I took to be claw marks on its face - maybe a fox or a badger?
It would be a perfect spot to linger (no cows when I visited though), and I would heartily recommend a visit. As you will appreciate if you read my weblog, I felt thoroughly relaxed and peaceful after being here. I realise I'm not familiar with the large stones at barrows in Cornwall or Wales (not to mention further afield) but I think in terms of actual remains in this region (ok, bar Stanton Drew and Stoney Littleton) Lugbury deserves more recognition than it appears to receive. Ok I am biased.
Like Rhiannon, it was raining when we arrived here, but luckily it was only another brief (though heavy) shower. We'd parked right by the gate to the field, by the footpath sign and I donned my waterproofs for the first time this year for the short trip across the field to the stones which were easily visible from the car.
I've never seen so many dandelions in one field before. I also have to say I've never seen so much dung in one field before either. And so varied in colour, texture and consistency! Keeping my head down to check my path, essential in these conditions, I progressed carefully to the stones.
The wind must have been in the right direction, as although the M4 was clearly visible, there was no traffic noise to be heard, even when the rain finally stopped.
There's not much left of the original mound now - it's probably less than a foot or so high from the rest of the field, but easily discernable. The landowner had stacked up a lot of brushwood at one end, and the stones themselves had quite a bit of undergrowth on and around them.
What we have here are two uprights, and what looks like a collapsed capstone leaning against them. There is indeed a 'bite' out of the lower end of the capstone - see the photos. It reminded me very much of the hole in the capstone of somewhere like Trevethy Quoit, but cut out to the edge of the stone.. a sad and dilapidated site holding only memories of it's previous splendour.
Julian mentions this barrow in passing in TMA as reminding him of the recumbent stones of the north: there are two uprights either side of huge slab; they stand at one end of the mound.
I made a little pilgrimage to this alone and in the rain, parking on the lane which is the Fosse Way and squelching through the field towards the stones. You feel quite remote but humming along in the distance is the wretched M4 - but that doesn't seem to matter, this place is so old and the motorway is just a transient upstart.
The stones are interestingly patterned and one has a strange bite out of it.
In more clement weather conditions I think you could sit here for even longer.
This, believe it or not, contains a golden wheelbarrow.
 - I've now found where this story probably comes from, and I expect I originally saw it in Grinsell's 1976 folklore book:
Littleton Drew, Barrow Lane: anyone digging in vicinity is asked, 'are you digging for the golden wheel-barrow?' (Rev. R. B. Lamplugh, vicar, to L.v.G., about 1950.) The Lugbury long barrow (in Nettleton parish) is near.
Barrow Treasure, in Fact, Tradition, and Legislation
L. V. Grinsell
Folklore, Vol. 78, No. 1. (Spring, 1967), pp. 1-38.
A long barrow, known as Lugbury(s) (2) 180-200 (6) by 90-80 (6) feet, and 6 feet high mound, reduced by ploughing, orientated east - west with a false entrance at the east end; and in the eastern half of the south side, four closed chambers or cists. Crawford suggested that there were passages to the chambers from the edge of the barrow but Daniel thought this unlikely.
Excavated by Colt Hoare in 1821 who found a contracted inhumation at ground level. Completely re-excavated by Scrope (report by Thuman) in 1854/5 who found three chambers which contained multiple burials of adults and children of both sexes: all dolichocephalic types. Also an empty chamber - probably rifled. Some flint flakes and a probable scraper were found. (2-7)
This long barrow, although scheduled, has been so spread by ploughing that the side ditches are now overlain by material from the mound. Surveyed at 1/2500. (8)
'Lugbury' (name unverified) long barrow survives as a grass-covered mound now reduced by ploughing to a rectangular form, 57.0m, E-W by 20.0m N-S and up to 1.4m high. Plough spread soil from the mound has obscured all trace of side ditches. At the E end the false portal is represented by two upright megaliths about 3.0m apart (the northern stone is 1.7m high by 1.3m wide by 0.3m thick; the southern 1.9m high by 1.3m wide by 0.9m thick) against the W side of which leans a great slab 3.2m long by 2.1m wide by 0.3m thick, set on edge N-S. These megaliths are at present obscured by dense bramble.
Surveyed at 1:2500 on AM. (9)
The following taken from George Witt's Archaeological Handbook of the County of Gloucester 1882; he places it under the name of Littleton Drew Barrow.
"This was first noticed by John Aubrey in his MS., "Monumenta Britannica," in the seventeenth century; it was called "Lugbury." It lies in the parish of Nettleton, but close to Littleton Drew, in Wiltshire, just outside the boundary of our county. •It measures 180 feet in length, and 90 feet in breadth, its greatest elevation being six feet. Its direction is nearly due east and west. There are three stones at the east end, on the slope of the barrow, thirty feet from its base; the two uprights are •six feet six inches apart, two feet thick, and four feet wide; one is •six feet six inches high, the other •five feet six inches. Resting on the mound and leaning againstº the uprights is a large stone, •twelve feet long, six feet wide, and two feet thick. A cistern was discovered •about sixty feet from the east end, containing one skeleton. Another cistern was found on the south side. Three other cisterns were also found, •about ten feet long, four feet wide, and two feet deep, formed of rough stone. The total number of skeletons found numbered twenty-six. Several flint flakes were also discovered. "
This doesn't mention 'Lugbury' as a name and rather backs up Moss's assertion that it was a later invention:
Account of a Long Barrow in the Parish of Nettleton, adjoining to that of Littleton Drew, Co. Wilts.
..having for many years past, cast a longing eye upon this singular vestige of early British Antiquity, I at length, in the year 1821, put my long-intended plans into execution..
..Our operations commenced on the 8th of October, and a stout body of spade-men, with our able pioneer, John Parker, at their head, began their work, which was rather arduous, the whole of the barrow being almost entirely constructed with loose stones. Being determined to spare neither trouble nor expense in developing the history of this singular tumulus, and hoping to find our Wiltshire maiden, intacta et inviolata*, we determined to make a complete section along the centre of the mound..
They dug down to the original soil suface and found 'many pieces of charcoal' from cremations or rituals, and a layer of flat stones on the bottom and sides. There was a 'rude arch' of similar stones beneath the chamber at the eastern end. Then they had to down tools until the owner had had a look. Also the ever-busy Rev. Skinner drew some pictures. Lots of people turned up on the 11th when they opened the interment 30ft from the eastern end of the barrow, and found a skeleton in a curled up position with a 'lancet' style flint tool near the head.
He didn't get to have a go at the 'Cromlech',
for, though a zealous Antiquary, and anxious to dive as deeply as possible into the womb of time, I could not conscientiously endanger the falling of the stones...
..my curiosity was satisfied by ascertaining the history of this tumulus, notwithstanding the disappointment experienced in not being able to venture on that deposit which was probably placed beneath the huge superimpending stones at the East end, which have hitherto, and I hope ever will protect the bones of the antient Briton.
Just as I'm getting irritated with Sir Richard Colt Hoare's barrow raiding, he comes out with something like the end paragraph, and I know I would have been simpering round the barrow like all the other lady visitors. But I'm not sure I can forgive him the silly 'maiden' remark* even considering it was 1821.
From p160-161 of The Gentleman's Magazine, v92 (Jan-June 1822). Online at Google Books.
Opening a couple of major league barrows used to be something you did in between lunch and afternoon tea.
The next day another excursion was made to Castle Combe, where the Society was entertained by its President, Mr. Poulet Scrope. The opportunity was taken to open two ancient earthworks.. [the first being Lanhill ].. the other site of exploration was Lugbury, near the Foss road.
This tumulus was found to contain a cairn, remarkable for the great number of chambers of which it had consisted. Beside the arrangement of a central line, and branches at the eastern end, there were others to the right and left, and each chamber contained three, four or five skeletons. There was also a remarkable trilithon, which it is thought may have been employed for sacrificial purposes. From the absence of any traces of the metallurgical arts, Dr. Thurnham pronounced this monument to be of very great antiquity, - probably four or five centuries before Christ.
You turn the site over and then you get it wrong anyway, Dr. Thurnham. And now look at the ploughed out state of the barrow. What a terrible shame. Still, you weren't the first. Page 416 of The Gentleman's Magazine, v44 (1855, Jul-Dec).
Lugbury has as the first syllable the name of a celtic god, Lugh or Lugus found mostly in Gaul but also in Britain, its Welsh equivalent is Lleu, and the land round here would probably have been Old Welsh country. Strange therefore, that two kilometres from the longbarrow should there be but the temple site of Nettleton Shrub, a romano-british shrine of several periods. The earliest being an early native round enclosure or temple. The dedications found at this site refers to Diana and her hound, Mercury and Rosmerta and Apollo Cunomaglus (the hound god)..... As Sulis was coupled with Minerva at Bath, Lugus as a celtic god was probably coupled with the roman Mercury. So does that mean that this longbarrow has carried the name down through the centuries, or has it been named by antiquarians? 28/7/06 to answer my own question, it seems to be called Lockstone on the 18th map of Andrew and Dury
I discovered that the celebrated 17th century antiquarian John Aubrey was born at Kington St Michael, only a few miles from Lugbury Longbarrow. He described its blind entrance as 'A great Table-stone of bastard free stone leaning on two picked perpendicular stones.'
(The 'bastard free stone' is apparently the Inferior Oolite found around Bath. This can be full of holes naturally I believe - like the ones on Bathampton Down - so perhaps that partially illuminates presence of the holes in the Lugbury stones).
He added: "Neer to this stone was a little round Barrow, before it was ploughed away since Ao Dm 1630." He also mentioned that there were four separate chambers along the long barrow's south side.
- quotes in Aubrey Burl's 2nd ed of 'Prehistoric Avebury' (p107)
The barrow doesn't seem to have a 'view' (unlike many longbarrows that are apparently positioned prominently - and having been to the nearby West Yatton Downs, it's not like hills with views are unavailable locally?): it's on level ground above the valley of By Brook, a tributary of the River Avon. It's orientated east-west and has been measured at 56m long, 38m wide and 1.5m high.
On a Cromlech-tumulus called Lugbury, near Littleton Drew. By John Thurnam, M.D., F.S.A.
You can now read Thurman's article from 1857 at Google Books, where it is scanned in as part of the Wiltshire Archaeology and Natural History Magazine. It's on p164. There's also a drawing of the barrow from 1821, which appears to show two upright stones at the far end of the barrow. Maybe this is an elaboration of the engraver's - 1821 was when Colt Hoare excavated the site. You can't have five stones in 'three stone field' can you??