Europe, British Isles, South-Central England, Berkshire, Ashbury, Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow [Map]

Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow is in Ashbury, Berkshire, South England Neolithic Long Barrows.

3600BC. Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow [Map] is Severn Cotswolds type in Oxfordshire on the Ridgeway Path.

It was first constructed in wood around 3570BC then as a stone monument around 3430BC.

Carbon Date. 2770BC. Late Neolithic Carbon Dates

Report: Wood, id as branch, from clearance just before building, Barrow II at Wayland's Smithy [Map], Ashbury, Berkshire, England. [Ed: discrepancy noted in lab nos: some sources give I-2328 for this determination; but that appears to clash with dates for Stonehenge.]

ID: 4388, C14 ID: I-1468 Date BP: 4770 +/- 130, Start Date BP: 4640, End BP: 4900

OS Letter: SU, OS East: 281, OS North: 854

Archaeologist Name: R J C Atkinson

Reference Name: Antiquity, 39, 1965, 126-33; Proc Prehist Soc, 57(2), 1991, 61-101

Council for British Archaeology (2012) Archaeological Site Index to Radiocarbon Dates from Great Britain and Ireland [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Letter to Dr Mead by Francis Wise. On the eastside of the Southern extremity, stand Three Squarish flat stones [Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow [Map]] of about four or five feet over each way, sat on edge, and supporting a Fourth of much larger dimensions, lying flat upon them. These altogether form a Cavern or sheltring place, resembling pretty exactly those described by Wormius, Bartholine, and others, except in the dimensions of the stones ; for whereas this may shelter only ten or a dozen sheep from a storm Wormius meotions one in Denmark, that would shelter a hundred.

I know of no other monument of this fort in England: but ina Wales, and the, Isle of Anglesey there are several, not unlike it, called by the natives Cranlechs. The Isle of Anglefey having been the chief seat of the Druids, induced it's learnedb antiquary to ascribe them to the ancient Britains, an assertion that I will not take upon me to contradict ; but shall only at this time observe, that I find sufficient , authorities to convince me that Ours must be Danish. The northern antiquaries agree to call them ALTARS; and Bartholine saith They usually bore the name of the person buried under them. He tells us likewise, that They were raifed by the Sons, Grandsons or other friends of the deceased. And that these burial monuments were applied to the purpose of sacrificing, is not improbable; it was the custom of the Pagan Danes to deify their great men. In Denmark Three of these Altars are commonly found together, designed, as is supposed, for the service of their Three chief Deities, Thor, Woden, and Frea, but Wormius lays it down as a rule, that where we meet with a Single one as in the present case we are to look upon it as a Sepulchral Altar where sacrifices were to be annually performed in honour of the defunH. The Welch word Cromlech too, according to their Antiquaries, is only; the Hebrew, Cherem-luach, i.e. The devoted or Altar Stone. 1 must not here forget to mention, that there seem to have been two approaches to our Altar, through Rows of large stones set on edge, One from the South, The Other from the West, the latter leading directly into the Cavern.

Note a. See Mr Lloyd's Additions to the Britannia in Pembrokeshire, and Mr Rowland's Mona Antiqua Restauranta. 410. Dublin.1723. p.92,93,213.

Note b. Rowland's Mona Antiqua Rest. Pag. 69. & 213

Magna Britannica Volume 1. Camps and Earth Works. — This county having been frequently the scene of military operations in remote times, exhibits the remains of many ancient camps. It is not an easy matter to determine by what people they have all been formed: it is probable, however, that those of an irregular shape, upon the Downs, as Letcombe and Uffington castles, both in very commanding situations, were originally British, and afterwards used by the Romans. The former, which is almost circular, has a double vallum, and incloses an area of nearly 26 acres: there is an entrance on the east fide. The entrenchments and ditches of this camp contain eight acres and a half. Uffington castle, a large camp on the White-Horse Hill, just above the village, from which it takes its name, nearly resembles that already described: it is about 700 feet in diameter, from east to west, and 500 from north to south, and is surrounded with a high vallum, and a slighter one on the outside. The views from the inner vallum are very extensive in every direction.

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A little way to the westward of Uffington castle before-mentioned, near the ridgeway leading over the Downs, there is a considerable tumulus, commonly called Wayland-Smith; over which are, irregularly scattered, several of the large stones called Sarsden Stones, found in that neighbourhood; three of the largest have a fourth laid on them in the manner of the British cromlechs. It is most probable that this tumulus is British.

Near Uffington castle is also the rude figure of a horse which gives name to the hill, formed by cutting away the turf; this appears to be of great antiquity, and more likely to have been a work of the Britons than, as it has been usually supposed, a memorial for Alfred’s victory over the Danes: the figure of a horse, a good deal resembling that above-mentioned, frequently occurs on the British coins. Just under the White-Horse hill there is a round hill called Dragon-hill, which Mr. Aubrey and others have supposed to be the tumulus of some British chief; it is not however by any means certain that it is an artificial mount. Many tumuli are dispersed on the Berkshire downs, especially in the way from Uffington to Lambourn, where a groupe of them has obtained the name of the Seven Barrows.

a and d. Uffington Castle and White Horse [Map].

d. Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow [Map].

Archaeologia Volume 32 Section XXIII. Observations on the celebrated Monument at Ashbury, in the county of Berks, called "Wayland Smith's Cave [Map]" by John Yonge Akerman (age 40), Esq. F.S.A. in a Letter to Capt. W. H. Smyth, R.N. Director. Read, 4th March, 1847.

Journal of the British Archaeological Association 1860. On The Legendary History Of Wayland Smith [Map] by Thom. Wright (age 49), Esq., M.A., F.S.A., Etc.

Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 1860 V7 Pages 315-320. Wayland Smith's Cave or Cromlech [Map], near Lambourn, Berks. By Professor T. L. Donaldson, Architect, Ph. D.

Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 1860 V7 Pages 321-333. On Wayland's Smithy [Map], and on the Traditions connected with it by John Thurnam (age 51), M.D., F.S.A.

Long Barrows of the Cotswolds. Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow [Map]