Ancient Monuments

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Preaching pit called the Queen's Pit

A Scheduled Monument in St. Enoder, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3908 / 50°23'27"N

Longitude: -4.9304 / 4°55'49"W

OS Eastings: 191799.062672

OS Northings: 58656.768331

OS Grid: SW917586

Mapcode National: GBR ZN.8J4W

Mapcode Global: FRA 08K0.H0N

Entry Name: Preaching pit called the Queen's Pit

Scheduled Date: 17 July 1980

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007290

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 1070

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Enoder

Built-Up Area: Indian Queens

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Enoder

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a preaching pit, situated on the south eastern side of the settlement of Indian Queens. The preaching pit survives as a circular depression with tiers of turf seating surrounding a lower central area and resembling a Roman amphitheatre in form. It contains a series of stone flights of steps between the tiers to facilitate access. The preaching pit is surrounded by an outer bank and has a stone-faced semi-circular podium. The preaching pit was constructed in 1840 in an old open cast mining excavation which once formed part of the Indian Queens Consols Mine. It follows in the tradition of the playing places, areas used for the performance of plays and pageants, which developed in Cornwall during the medieval period. It was later used as an outdoor nonconformist place of worship during the 18th and 19th centuries, although there is no specific evidence of John Wesley or other noted preachers of the day ever preaching here. The preaching pit was restored in 1922 and renovated in 1976 by the Queen's Pit Association.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-430070

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The tradition of playing places, known in Cornwall as Plain an Gwary, has its roots in the medieval period when circular areas, defined by banks, were used to perform plays and for various religious, social and political events. Based on the Roman amphitheatre in form and re-using an open cast mine, the builders of the Queen's Pit combined all of these to produce a venue for religious use by the Christian nonconformists. The preaching pits are rare nationally with only a small number known in Cornwall.

Source: Historic England

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