Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort called The Rumps

A Scheduled Monument in St. Minver Highlands, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5933 / 50°35'35"N

Longitude: -4.9208 / 4°55'14"W

OS Eastings: 193372.114551

OS Northings: 81134.566539

OS Grid: SW933811

Mapcode National: GBR ZP.5LQL

Mapcode Global: FRA 07LH.LSB

Entry Name: Promontory fort called The Rumps

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1964

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004625

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 621

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Minver Highlands

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Minver with St Enodoc and St Michael Rock

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a promontory fort, situated on the rocky coastal headland called Rumps Point, between Padstow and Port Quin Bays. The fort survives as an irregularly-shaped enclosure defined by three banks and partially rock cut ditches across the neck of the headland on the southern side. Elsewhere it is defined by steep natural sea cliffs. The ramparts have simple entrance gaps.
It was first recorded by Norden in 1584 and called 'Pentire Forte'. In 1862 The Rumps formed part of the warren of the manor of Pentire. Partial excavations by the Cornwall Archaeological Society in 1963 - 1967 revealed three phases of building and two of occupation. The initial settlement was contemporary with the inner rampart and pottery finds suggested a 2nd century BC date. The rampart also had a large timber gateway. The middle rampart superseded the inner one and the final period of occupation ended in the mid-1st century AD. The outer rampart had a revetted outer face and inner facing wall of markedly different construction although the date of the rampart proved elusive. The earliest feature on the site lay behind the outer rampart and was a V-shaped ditch with a mound thought to be the base for a palisade. The interior was intensively occupied, as well as the area between the middle and inner ramparts. Several hut platforms in these areas were excavated producing domestic debris including spindle whorls, quern stones, whetstones, the possible remains of a loom and a predominance of sheep bones. Finds suggested the occupants had trading links with the Mediterranean.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431052

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 important for understanding the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period. Although much is known from the partial excavations, the promontory fort called The Rumps survives well and will contain still further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social organisation, longevity, trade, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, territorial and strategic significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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