Ancient Monuments

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Courtyard house settlement and field system and medieval farmstead 440m south of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Zennor, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1684 / 50°10'6"N

Longitude: -5.5892 / 5°35'21"W

OS Eastings: 143790.905136

OS Northings: 35981.196282

OS Grid: SW437359

Mapcode National: GBR DXL7.DN8

Mapcode Global: VH059.21K8

Entry Name: Courtyard house settlement and field system and medieval farmstead 440m south of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage

Scheduled Date: 5 May 1958

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004421

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 500

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Zennor

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Zennor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a courtyard house settlement, field system and a medieval farmstead, situated on the lower north eastern slopes of Little Galva. The settlement and field system survive as a single courtyard house, with a medieval house built into its courtyard, a stone hut circle and a complex of small enclosures to the south east. The courtyard house measures approximately 24m long by 19m wide overall and is defined by stone walls of up to 1.5m high which include a courtyard, long room, round room and an additional small room. The walls of the courtyard have been modified by the later insertion of a two-celled rectangular medieval building with drystone walls of up to 1.2m high and the creation of new entrances to facilitate access to this later building. To the south east the single stone hut circle lies within the accompanying field system of paddocks and small enclosures and survives as a free-standing structure defined by a wall of up to 0.7m wide and 0.4m high with an internal diameter of approximately 10m.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-423727

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. The courtyard house settlements are important sources of information on the distinctive nature and pattern of settlement that developed during the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west England.

The courtyard house settlement and field system and medieval farmstead 440m south of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, development, re-use, agricultural practices through time, domestic arrangements, climatic fluctuations and the overall landscape context of the settlement throughout its different phases of use.

Source: Historic England

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