Ancient Monuments

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Two bowl barrows 380m north of Beckaveans, one of which is called 'The Beacon'

A Scheduled Monument in St. Gennys, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.7353 / 50°44'6"N

Longitude: -4.5697 / 4°34'11"W

OS Eastings: 218760.666

OS Northings: 95999.5227

OS Grid: SX187959

Mapcode National: GBR N9.3201

Mapcode Global: FRA 1794.KHW

Entry Name: Two bowl barrows 380m north of Beckaveans, one of which is called 'The Beacon'

Scheduled Date: 22 July 1966

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004371

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 631

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Gennys

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Jacobstow

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes two bowl barrows, situated on the northern summit of a prominent ridge, overlooking the valleys of several small streams. The barrows survive as circular mounds, surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which their construction material was derived. The southern barrow mound measures 34.7m in diameter and 3.3m high. It is known as 'The Beacon'; this place name evidence suggests its re-use as a beacon. Its surrounding field is recorded as 'Burrow Moor' by 1840. The northern mound stands up to 40m in diameter and 1.1m high.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-434636 and 434642

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.

Beacons were fires deliberately lit to give a warning, by means of smoke by day and flame by night, of the approach of hostile forces. They were always sited in prominent positions, usually as part of a group, chain or line which together made up a comprehensive early warning system covering most of the country. Beacons were extensively used during the medieval period. Their use was formalised by 1325 and although some were used later, for example at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion in 1685 or during the Napoleonic wars, the system was in decay by the mid-17th century. Beacons were initially bonfires of wood or furze, but later barrels of pitch or iron fire baskets mounted on poles were used. The poles were occasionally set on earthen mounds. Although approximately 500 are recorded nationally, few survive in the form of visible remains. Many sites are only known from place-name evidence.

Despite some disturbance, the two bowl barrows 380m north of Beckaveans, one of which is called 'The Beacon', survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices, adaptive re-use and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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