Ancient Monuments

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Courtyard house and stone hut circle settlement 430m south west of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Zennor, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.169 / 50°10'8"N

Longitude: -5.5917 / 5°35'30"W

OS Eastings: 143615.052352

OS Northings: 36059.597486

OS Grid: SW436360

Mapcode National: GBR DXK7.KHL

Mapcode Global: VH059.107S

Entry Name: Courtyard house and stone hut circle settlement 430m south west of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1926

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006737

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 48

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 and stone hut circle settlement situated on the lower eastern slopes of the prominent ridge called Hannibal's Carn. The settlement survives as approximately six stone hut circles measuring between 4m and 6.5m in diameter internally defined by rubble walling up to 0.7m high and three more substantial courtyard houses, with defining walls of up to 2m wide and 0.8m high. The whole settlement is overlain by a series of more modern field boundaries.
The settlement was first marked on the Ordnance Survey first edition map and was described and planned by Henderson. It was re-surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1961 and later by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit in 1983.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are scheduled separately.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-423621

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 and took the form of a thick coursed rubble wall containing rooms and storage chambers. A small central and generally unroofed area - the courtyard - was enclosed by this wall, and the rooms within the wall and the main entrance opened into it. 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 round houses on the same site. Courtyard houses may occur singly or in groups. The national distribution includes over 110 recorded courtyard houses, mostly on the Penwith peninsula at the western tip of Cornwall. A single complete example from the Isles of Scilly extends the south west limit of their distribution. 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. Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. The courtyard house and stone hut circle settlement 430m south west of Bosporthennis Farm Cottage is of particular importance because it contains both types of building style. This suggests the settlement may have been long-lived, developing new building techniques over time. It also suggests that the agricultural activity in the area was successful, and could support a long established population. The settlement will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, abandonment, agricultural activity, social organisation and domestic arrangements as well as its overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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