Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn on Wingletang Down, 50m south west of Porth Askin

A Scheduled Monument in St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly

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Latitude: 49.8845 / 49°53'4"N

Longitude: -6.343 / 6°20'34"W

OS Eastings: 88143.153065

OS Northings: 7298.419588

OS Grid: SV881072

Mapcode National: GBR BXQZ.PFS

Mapcode Global: VGYCB.05KD

Entry Name: Round cairn on Wingletang Down, 50m south west of Porth Askin

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1976

Last Amended: 4 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009264

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15313

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: St. Agnes

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Isles of Scilly

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric round cairn incorporating several natural
boulders situated on the western edge of the southern headland of St Agnes in
the Isles of Scilly.
The round cairn survives with an oval mound of earth and heaped rubble
measuring 7m north-south by 5m east-west and up to 0.6m high. The mound
incorporates a massive natural boulder, up to 2.5m across and 0.9m high, in
its western periphery. Smaller natural slabs protrude from the mound's surface
immediately south of the massive boulder and on the mound's northern edge. A
further three slabs embedded in the surface of the mound to the south and east
of its centre derive from the cairn's original design. The surface of the
mound bears a series of small irregular hollows due to recent rabbit-burrowing
in its earthen fabric.
This cairn is part of a group containing at least 44 cairns of various types
dispersed about the heathland and abundant granite outcrops of Wingletang
Down, the broad southern peninsula of St Agnes. Prehistoric field systems
border the northern edges of the Down, partly incorporating several cairns
towards the north east edge of this cairn group. Another large and diverse
cairn group occupies the southern part of Gugh, 450m north east of Wingletang

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Isles of Scilly, the westernmost of the granite masses of south west
England, contain a remarkable abundance and variety of archaeological remains
from over 4000 years of human activity. The remote physical setting of the
islands, over 40km beyond the mainland in the approaches to the English
Channel, has lent a distinctive character to those remains, producing many
unusual features important for our broader understanding of the social
development of early communities.
Throughout the human occupation there has been a gradual submergence of the
islands' land area, providing a stimulus to change in the environment and its
exploitation. This process has produced evidence for responses to such change
against an independent time-scale, promoting integrated studies of
archaeological, environmental and linguistic aspects of the islands'
The islands' archaeological remains demonstrate clearly the gradually
expanding size and range of contacts of their communities. By the post-
medieval period (from AD 1540), the islands occupied a nationally strategic
location, resulting in an important concentration of defensive works
reflecting the development of fortification methods and technology from the
mid 16th to the 20th centuries. An important and unusual range of post-
medieval monuments also reflects the islands' position as a formidable hazard
for the nation's shipping in the western approaches.
The exceptional preservation of the archaeological remains on the islands has
long been recognised, producing an unusually full and detailed body of
documentation, including several recent surveys.
Round cairns are funerary monuments of Bronze Age date (c.2000-700 BC). They
were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble, up to 40m in external
diameter, though usually considerably smaller, covering single or multiple
burials. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edge of the mound.
Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box-like structure
of stone slabs called a cist, set into the old ground surface or dug into the
body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small
groups or in larger cemeteries.
Round cairns form a high proportion of the 387 surviving cairns recorded on
the Isles of Scilly. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs,
burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age and a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn on Wingletang Down has survived well with only minor
disturbance by rabbit activity and it has not been excavated. The
incorporation of large natural boulders into the cairn is a distinctive
feature found in certain other cairns in the Isles of Scilly but unusual and
rare nationally. The presence of this cairn in a dispersed group containing
various other classes of cairn shows the diversity of funerary activity during
the Bronze Age. The relationships between this cairn group, the nearby
prehistoric field systems and the topography on St Agnes demonstrates well the
nature of land use among prehistoric communities and the organisation of
funerary and farming activities.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1993, Waters, A./CAU, AM 107 for Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 7018.01, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A./CAU, AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 7010; 7013; 7019, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A./CAU, AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 7011; 7015; 7016; 7018, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A./CAU, AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 7020; 7056; 7057; 7059, (1988)
Morley, B. & Rees, S., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1014, 1975, consulted 1993
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 80 NE
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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