Ancient Monuments

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Slight univallate hillfort with outworks 390m south east of Tanker's Lake

A Scheduled Monument in St. Thomas the Apostle Rural, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6361 / 50°38'10"N

Longitude: -4.4206 / 4°25'14"W

OS Eastings: 228925.791878

OS Northings: 84622.15516

OS Grid: SX289846

Mapcode National: GBR NH.9BB8

Mapcode Global: FRA 17MD.9N3

Entry Name: Slight univallate hillfort with outworks 390m south east of Tanker's Lake

Scheduled Date: 2 August 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004243

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 867

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Thomas the Apostle Rural

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Launceston

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort with outworks, situated on the summit of a ridge directly overlooking the steep valley of the River Kensey. The hillfort survives as an oval inner enclosed area, with an eccentrically-positioned surrounding oval middle enclosure and, to the west, an outer enclosure which forms a roughly-triangular annexe. The inner enclosure measures approximately 50m by 30m. It is defined by a 2m high raised platform, with a wide and largely-buried ditch, which is up to 16m wide and has a causewayed entrance to the west.

The middle enclosure measures approximately 110m by 100m and is defined by a rampart of up to 5m high above a partly buried outer ditch with a 1m high counterscarp bank. The inner side of the rampart bank has been partially cut to form a field boundary. On the western side a simple causewayed entrance leads to the outer annexe which measures 140m by 120m. The annexe is defined by a rampart bank of up to 2.5m high with a 0.6m deep outer ditch. At its south west corner is a simple entrance approached by a hollow way. A quarry partially cuts the rampart and outer ditch. To the north a track follows the line of the ditch; its surface is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

Known locally as 'The Rings', the hillfort was first described by Lake in 1872. Partial excavations by OB Peter in the late 19th to early 20th century produced spindle whorls, a stone hammer, flint, nodules of iron pyrites and a number of sea pebbles. Parts of two walls were revealed with blackened stones and a possible clay oven. A piece of post Roman pottery was found in the wall. The occupation debris suggested Neolithic or Bronze Age settlement with possible medieval re-use of the annexe revealed by the presence of a medieval hut.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436246

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Slight univallate hillforts are comparatively rare and are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well have the potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains. Despite partial early excavation and some past cultivation, the slight univallate hillfort with outworks 390m south east of Tanker's Lake survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, territorial significance, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, abandonment, re-use and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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