By the Chairman, the Rt. Hon. the Lord Adeane, P.C., G.C.B., G.C.V.O.
The responsibility of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments to record ancient Monuments
which are threatened with obliteration by present-day development has prompted the compilation of
this Inventory of Iron Age and Romano-British Monuments in the Cotswold area of Gloucestershire.
For convenience of reference we have continued our usual practice of arranging the Inventory under the
names of the modern parishes in which the Monuments lie, even though these divisions are irrelevant to
the subjects discussed. Our acceptance, for similar reasons, of the county boundary to delimit the area
included in the volume results in the omission of the most south-westerly Cotswold parishes, which are in
Somerset. Our investigators' notes on these parishes are lodged in the Field Monuments Section of the
National Monuments Record and are open for consultation by interested students. Apart from this, the use
of the county boundary entails no serious truncation of the Cotswold area, the bounds of which are
largely a matter of choice. The Jurassic ridge of which the Cotswolds are part extends across England,
from Lincolnshire to Dorset.
The use of the county boundary enables us to include in the volume some small but important areas not
on the wolds limestone, notably the parishes of Fairford, Kempsford and Lechlade, where abundant
traces of Iron Age and Romano-British occupation occur on the river-gravels of the upper Thames.
The Inventory does not include Bronze Age and earlier Monuments since these consist predominantly
of burial mounds, already extensively catalogued by H. E. O'Neil and L. V. Grinsell (Transactions of the
Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, vol. 79 (1960), part i). Roman Cirencester is discussed only
summarily because a long-term programme of excavation and study by the Cirencester Excavation Committee is still in progress.
While air photographs were being examined for the purposes of the Inventory a large number of ringditches were discovered, most of them probably of the Bronze Age; these have been described elsewhere
(I. F. Smith in Archaeology and the Landscape (ed. P. J. Fowler, 1972), chapter vi), but a brief note will be
found on page lv. The discovery of several mediaeval earthworks has been another by-product of our
investigators' work, and notes on these have been passed to the Deserted Mediaeval Villages Research
Group. So-called 'pillow-mounds', mediaeval and later, occur in large numbers in the area and a brief
note on them appears in the Inventory (s.v. Minchinhampton, where they are used to indicate the relative
antiquity of other features); a further account will shortly be published elsewhere by our investigator,
Mr. H. C. Bowen.
Any field survey subject to chronological limits must, on grounds of probability, admit items which may
eventually be found to lie wholly or partly outside the period envisaged. Conversely it is sometimes
possible to show that items which were formerly thought to lie within the scope of a survey do not in fact
do so. Among the latter are a number of so-called 'hill-forts' and 'camps' in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds
which now appear to have been identified wrongly. Because absolute certainty in the question cannot
always be claimed and because some of the sites require further investigation, these 'monuments' are
discussed in some detail in our Sectional Preface.
All accessible Monuments described in the Inventory have been inspected by one or more of our investigators and manv of them have been the subject of prolonged study. After compilation, the drafts of
the text and preliminary versions of the maps and plans have been carefully scrutinised by my fellow Commissioners. As in other inventories we have thought best in the matter of place-names to adhere to the
spelling used in the latest series of Ordnance Survey maps, without prejudice as to accuracy. Notes on the
archaeological significance of certain place-names will be found on page lii.
In the Inventory the parishes are dealt with alphabetically, and a list of parishes together with a general
map will be found at the end of the volume. Under each parish heading, generally, Iron Age Monuments
are dealt with first, then Roman, and finally 'undated' Monuments. In many parish accounts an introductory
paragraph serves to draw attention to important Monuments, to mention unprovenanced finds and sites
which can no longer be precisely located, and to give general information relevant to the Iron Age and
Most of our hill-fort plans are based on Ordnance Survey drawings, checked by our investigators and
amended where this appeared desirable. Our plans of Roman villas are based on those made by the excavators, willingly supplied in the case of modern discoveries. Some area plans, notably of 'Chessels' in
Lower Slaughter, of Roughground Farm in Lechlade and of the villa fields in Barnsley are also due to
the generosity of modern archaeologists. To Samuel Lysons, whose rare talents are perpetuated in three
splendid volumes, Reliquiae Britannico-Romanae, published in 1813 and 1817, the Commission's debt can
hardly be exaggerated. Plans of sites revealed by crop-marks on air photographs should be regarded as
carefully considered sketches rather than as measured drawings; we do not yet have facilities to make
accurate transcripts from low-level oblique photographs. The sketches, however, are nearly always
compiled from several photographs taken under differing conditions. Our most extensive and detailed
crop-mark plan (Fairford (3–6) with part of Lechlade) was transcribed from vertical air photographs
taken for us by Cambridge University Committee for Aerial Photography and is therefore accurate,
though it may include modern features as well as ancient indications from outside our period. As the
interpretation of crop-marks from air photographs is to some extent subjective, the volume includes
reproductions of a large number of these photographs.
The compilation of so extensive a survey would be impossible without the help and sufferance of the
many landowners within whose property the Monuments lie, and to them, too numerous for individual
mention, I express the Commission's sincere thanks. The names of the directors of public institutions and
those of private persons to whom we are indebted for help will be found in our Official Report, reprinted
elsewhere in the volume. Special acknowledgement must, however, be made of the help and encouragement constantly afforded to our investigators by Mrs. H. E. O'Neil, and by Captain H. S. Gracie, R. N. (rtd.).
In an inventory such as this there must be some mistakes, but I believe they are neither numerous nor
serious; my colleagues and I will, of course, welcome any corrections that may be proposed with a view
to a future edition. Such corrections will be added to the Commission's files, which may be consulted by
accredited persons on application to the Secretary. Copies of the photographs reproduced in the volume,
and of many others taken while the volume was in preparation, are obtainable from the National Monuments Record.