I came across this long barrow today more by accident than design. Was in the Stroud/Selsley area to look at Pre-Raphaelite stained glass, approaching the village of Selsley from across the Common. What a lovely place - open unfenced common land (how rare is that) with wonderful views over the Stroud Valley. The first day of September and the sun was shining.
The long barrow had a couple of families picnicing on it today, flying kites and running around. I pushed any proprietorial thoughts away and refrained from taking all but just one photograph. As with most of the Gloucestershire long barrows there are stunning views to be had; in this case across the valley, towards the river Severn. The Severn could be clearly seen today along with the hills beyond (just a little haze). The 55 metre long barrow dips in the middle as so many of them do as a result of past excavations. Today I left it to the children playing on its slopes but will go back another time to take a closer look.
Visited on a warm, cloudy spring day (26.4.09). This barrow has a very impressive position - I had previously seen it from the train window on the Gloucester - Swindon line, where it is an easily recognisable landmark. There are terrific views over the Severn Valley to the west and across to the NW.
The barrow itself has seen a lot of excavation, along the top there are four or five large scars of varying sizes. The overall shape is still discernable but there is no sign of any megaliths.
It was very busy up here today, plenty of people out walking dogs, themselves, their children, as well as the suitablility of the barrow as spot for flying kites. Not a place for blissful solitude then, but still a communal focal point all these thousands of years after it was built. From here I headed west through the lovely Pen Hill woods, towards Buckholt Wood long barrow.
Looking across the western valley that bounds Minchinhampton Common, we see Selsley Hill, which is partly Common, and has earthworks, including a tumulus called "The Toots." On Selsley Hill is a small enclosed piece known as "Kill Devil Acre." An old farmer accounted to me for the name by the story of a man who was promised that he should have as much land as he could fence round in a day. He fenced in this piece (no doubt with a dry wall, as is usual here), and then fell down dead of overwork. Another version of the story was given me in these words by Miss Fennemore, of Randwick:- "Some man, having taken a fancy to this piece, determined to enclose it for his own use. To ensure safety and success, he determined to do this by night, so that he might not be disturbed, as his success depended on being able to build a row of stones round it, make a rough chimney, and light a fire therein, after which no one dared molest him. He worked all through the night, but died as he finished the task.
I'm not sure what all that's about. It sounds more than usually confused. Wasn't there a law where you could build a house quickly and thereby become a 'legal squatter'? And where's the connection with the devil anyway?? From Cotswold Place-Lore and Customs, by J. B. Partridge, in Folklore, Vol. 23, No. 3. (Sep., 1912), pp. 332-342.