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Part of a cliff castle called Crane Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Illogan, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.2482 / 50°14'53"N

Longitude: -5.3189 / 5°19'8"W

OS Eastings: 163481.996791

OS Northings: 43966.363694

OS Grid: SW634439

Mapcode National: GBR FX70.Y4V

Mapcode Global: VH12H.R1G0

Entry Name: Part of a cliff castle called Crane Castle

Scheduled Date: 4 October 1957

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004390

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 519

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Illogan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Saint Illogan

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes part of a cliff castle, situated on the edge of a prominent coastal cliff known as Carvannel Downs, overlooking Basset's Cove. The cliff castle survives as part of a double rampart with ditches measuring up to 85m and 71m long and averaging 2.3m in height. The partially buried ditches are up 2m wide and 1.5m deep. The first references to the cliff castle are found in 1530 and 1635 when 'Castelle Cliff' is mentioned in connection with a wreck on the coast nearby. It was visited by Borlase in the mid-18th century and his report shows it to have been in a similar condition to now. Tangye identified and planned a large rectangular enclosure extending to the south, but this is thought to be a medieval or post medieval field utilising the prehistoric ramparts and is not included in the scheduling.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-426191

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cliff castles are coastal promontories adapted as enclosures and fortified on the landward side by the construction of one or more ramparts accompanied by ditches. On the seaward side the precipitous cliffs of the promontory provided a natural defence, only rarely reinforced by man-made features. Cliff castles date to the Iron Age, most being constructed and used between the second century BC and the first century AD, although some were reused in the medieval period. They are usually interpreted as high status defensive enclosures, related to the broadly contemporary classes of hillfort. The inner area enclosed at cliff castles varies with the size and shape of the promontory; they are generally in the range 0.5ha to 3ha, but a few much larger examples are known, enclosing up to 52ha. The area of many cliff castles will have been reduced by subsequent coastal erosion. The ramparts are of earth and rubble, occasionally with a drystone revetment wall along their outer face. Ditches may be rock- or earth-cut depending on the depth of the subsoil. The number and arrangement of ramparts and ditches varies considerably and may include outworks enclosing large areas beyond the promontory and annexes defining discrete enclosures against the landward side of the defences. Multiple ramparts may be close spaced or may include a broad gap between concentric ramparts defining inner and outer enclosures. Entrance gaps through the defences are usually single and often staggered where they pass through multiple ramparts. Cliff castles are largely distributed along the more indented coastline of western Britain; in England they are generally restricted to the coasts of north Devon and Cornwall. Around sixty cliff castles are recorded nationally, of which forty are located around the Cornish coast. Cliff castles contribute to our understanding of how society and the landscape was organised during the Iron Age and illustrate the influence of landscape features on the chosen locations for prestigious settlement, trade and industry. Despite significant coastal erosion and visitor erosion, the part of a cliff castle called Crane Castle survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, date, re-use and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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