Ancient Monuments

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Two courtyard houses and two stone hut circles 470m north east of Newmill

A Scheduled Monument in Madron, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1537 / 50°9'13"N

Longitude: -5.556 / 5°33'21"W

OS Eastings: 146082.2718

OS Northings: 34241.252

OS Grid: SW460342

Mapcode National: GBR DXN8.PTR

Mapcode Global: VH059.ND3H

Entry Name: Two courtyard houses and two stone hut circles 470m north east of Newmill

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004356

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 662

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Madron

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Gulval

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes two courtyard houses and two stone hut circles, situated on a ridge which forms the watershed between the valleys of the Trevaylor Stream and an unnamed stream leading to Penzance. The four structures are widely dispersed across the ridge. The stone hut circles are located to the far north west and the far north east, with the two courtyard houses in the centre. The southern of the two centrally positioned courtyard houses survives as a roughly circular perimeter wall defined by banks of stone and earth. These form a courtyard with chambers leading to the west and south, with an entrance to the south east defined by a single stone jamb. Field boundaries cross the northern perimeter. The north eastern courtyard house survives as a circular plan building with an outer stone wall of up to 2m high. The courtyard has an entrance to the north east. In both courtyard houses additional chambers are in-filled with tumbled stone and soil and their exact internal layouts are difficult to determine.

The stone hut circles survive as circular enclosed areas defined by low rubble walls. The western hut circle measures 5m in diameter internally, whilst the eastern is 8m and is best preserved to the north. The presence of modern worked stone within the latter suggests its possible later adaptive re-use as a small animal pound.

Other archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-424024, 424001 and 424036

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The courtyard house is a building form developed in south west England in the Roman period during the second to fourth centuries AD. It was usually oval or curvilinear in shape, taking the form of a thick coursed rubble wall containing rooms and some storage chambers. A central area - the courtyard - was enclosed by this wall and the rooms and the main entrance opened into it. The courtyard is generally considered to have remained unroofed. Excavations of courtyard houses have revealed paved and cobbled floors, stone partitions, slab-lined and slab-covered drains, threshold and door pivot stones and slab-lined hearths, together with artefactual debris. Excavations have also shown that some courtyard houses developed from earlier phases of timber and/or stone built round houses on the same site. Courtyard houses may occur singly or in groups of up to nine. The national distribution includes over 110 recorded courtyard houses, mostly on the Penwith peninsula at the western tip of Cornwall, with a single example on the Isles of Scilly. Courtyard houses are unique within the range of Romano- British settlement types, showing a highly localised adaptation to the windswept conditions of the far south west of England.

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite some disturbance by the construction of later field boundaries and adaptive re-use, the two courtyard houses and two stone hut circles 470m north east of Newmill survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, use, longevity, development, relative chronologies, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, re-use and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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