Ancient Monuments

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Round, courtyard house settlement and field system 140m WNW of Goldherring

A Scheduled Monument in Sancreed, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0971 / 50°5'49"N

Longitude: -5.6212 / 5°37'16"W

OS Eastings: 141119.882341

OS Northings: 28172.212443

OS Grid: SW411281

Mapcode National: GBR DXHF.9Z8

Mapcode Global: VH05G.JT4F

Entry Name: Round, courtyard house settlement and field system 140m WNW of Goldherring

Scheduled Date: 25 September 1934

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004651

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 263

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Sancreed

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Sancreed

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a round, a courtyard house settlement, and a field system situated on the lower southern slopes of a ridge, overlooking the Lamorna River. The round survives as a circular enclosure of approximately 45m in diameter, defined by a drystone wall with an outer rock cut ditch, partially incorporated by modern boundary banks, with an annexe to the north west and also bounded by a modern field wall. The main gateway to the north east is visible, but blocked by later walling, and a second main entrance to the east has paving. Within the round the remains of several chambers, defined by stony walls surviving to a height of 1.2m, mark out the courtyard house settlement with other earlier stone hut circles surviving as banks and representing different phases of settlement connected with the round. The field system is visible to the south as a series of terraced rectangular fields, bounded by banks, with lynchets to their lower sides. Partial excavations were carried out by Guthrie between 1958 and 1961. Finds included hearths, paving, pottery, evidence for iron smelting, rotary querns, whetstones, spindle whorls and parts of a granite bowl. Pottery confirmed occupation during four periods: from the 1st century BC; a second phase in the 3rd to 4th centuries AD; a third in the 5th to 6th centuries when part of the area was used as a workshop with considerable evidence for smelting; and finally in the 13th century when there was evidence for tin smelting. Two boundary walls which run downslope across the earlier remains are of medieval origin.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-422403

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Rounds are small embanked enclosures dating to between the later Iron Age and the early post-Roman period. Usually circular or oval, they have a single earth and rubble bank and an outer ditch, with one entrance breaking the circuit. Excavations have produced drystone supporting walls within the bank, paved or cobbled entrance ways, post built gate structures, and remains of timber, turf or stone built houses of oval or rectangular plan, often set around the inner edge of the enclosing bank. Other evidence includes hearths, drains, gullies, pits and rubbish middens and evidence for industrial activities from some sites, including small scale metal working and, among the domestic debris, items traded from distant sources. Some rounds are associated with secondary enclosures, either abutting the round as an annexe or forming an additional enclosure. Rounds are viewed primarily as agricultural settlements confined in England to south west Devon and especially Cornwall. Most examples are sited on hillslopes and spurs. Rounds are important as one of the major sources of information on settlement and social organisation of the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west England. The courtyard house is a building form developed only in south west England chiefly on the Penwith peninsula at the western tip of Cornwall and 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 in the Roman period during the second to fourth centuries AD. The courtyard house 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. Some courtyard houses developed from earlier phases of timber and/or stone built round houses on the same site. They are important sources of information on the distinctive nature and pattern of settlement that developed in this region. Despite partial excavation, the round, courtyard house settlement and field system 140m WNW of Goldherring survive comparatively well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence concerning the complex development and periods of re-use connected with this important and rare settlement.

Source: Historic England

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