Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort called Kenidjack Castle

A Scheduled Monument in St. Just, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1345 / 50°8'4"N

Longitude: -5.7032 / 5°42'11"W

OS Eastings: 135461.639677

OS Northings: 32617.987039

OS Grid: SW354326

Mapcode National: GBR DX9B.8DC

Mapcode Global: VH057.3W88

Entry Name: Promontory fort called Kenidjack Castle

Scheduled Date: 9 November 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004388

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 585

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Just

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Just-in-Penwith

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a promontory fort situated on the far western coast of Cornwall, between the coves North and South Zawn. The fort survives as an enclosed area of coastal headland with a central steep, rocky spine topped by a slight wall and some upright stones and a series of at least three rampart banks with ditches both to the north and south side of the rocky ridge at the landward end of the promontory.
The northern ramparts of the fort are the best preserved and stand between 2.1m to 3.3m high. Here the three ramparts have stone revetments with the innermost being entirely stone built. All have outer ditches of up to 1.2m deep. To the south of the fort are two ramparts, standing up to 1.2m high, with partially buried outer ditches. A probable third rampart has been subject to erosion and partial landslip. Pathways within the fort between the central outcrop and the ramparts are likely to be original features. At the landward end of the fort are a number of circular scoops and platforms consistent with dwellings, although they may be associated with mining activity further down the cliff in North Zawn Cove. Early tin mining is thought to have been carried out in a nearby valley as well as stone quarrying, and Weatherhill suggests Kenidjack Castle may be the source for Neolithic group XVII axes. Kenidjack Castle was first recorded by Norden in 1728.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-421757

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. They are both rare and important for understanding the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period. Despite some coastal erosion and later quarrying and mining, the promontory fort called Kenidjack Castle survives well. Its early associations with stone quarrying, dating back to the Neolithic, and early tin extraction adds considerably to its importance. The fort will also contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, trade, agricultural practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context

Source: Historic England

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