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Three platform cairns and adjacent prehistoric linear boundary on Wingletang Down, 70m west of Crooked Rock

A Scheduled Monument in St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly

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Latitude: 49.8881 / 49°53'17"N

Longitude: -6.338 / 6°20'16"W

OS Eastings: 88521.91323

OS Northings: 7682.620522

OS Grid: SV885076

Mapcode National: GBR BXQZ.KNW

Mapcode Global: VGYCB.326L

Entry Name: Three platform cairns and adjacent prehistoric linear boundary on Wingletang Down, 70m west of Crooked Rock

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1976

Last Amended: 4 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009276

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15337

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 three prehistoric platform cairns, two of which are
linked by a prehistoric linear boundary, situated on the eastern part of
Wingletang Down on St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly.
The two cairns linked by the linear boundary are situated 33m apart on a
NNE-SSW axis; the third cairn is situated 12m north east of the southern
Each platform cairn survives with a mound of heaped rubble rising to a
flattened upper surface forming the platform. The cairn at the NNE end of the
linear boundary measures 8m in diameter and rises 0.5m high; the cairn at the
SSW end measures 8.5m in diameter and rises 0.5m high. On the south side of
the southern mound's centre is an edge-set slab, 0.75m long, 0.35m thick and
0.25m high. A much smaller slab is exposed in this cairn's surface north of
the mound's centre.
The linear boundary linking these two cairns is visible as a slight
turf-covered bank, up to 1.75m wide and 0.1m high, which runs NNE from the
northern side of the SSW cairn, extending in a straight line to join the NNE
cairn tangentially, merging with its south east side. The course of the linear
boundary passes 8m WNW of the third platform cairn. This cairn is 9m in
diameter and 0.5m high, with a small cluster of rounded slabs embedded in the
surface of the mound to the south of its centre and an edge-set slab, 0.2m
high, leaning outwards on the eastern perimeter of the mound.
The cairns form 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.
Platform cairns are funerary monuments of Early Bronze Age date (c.2000-1600
BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble, up to
40m in external diameter though usually considerably smaller, covering single
or multiple burials. Some examples have other features, including peripheral
banks and internal mounds constructed on the platform. A kerb of slabs or
edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edge of the platform, and a peripheral
bank or mound if present. Platform cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in
small groups or in cairn cemeteries. In cemeteries they are normally found
alongside cairns of other types.
Platform cairns form a significant proportion of the 387 surviving cairns on
the Isles of Scilly; this is unusual in comparison with the mainland. All
surviving examples on the Isles of Scilly are considered worthy of protection.

The early linear boundaries of the Isles of Scilly were constructed from the
Bronze Age to the early medieval period (c.2000 BC-AD 1066); closer dating
within that period may be provided by their visible relationships to other
classes of monument with a shorter known time-span of use, or by their
relationship with an earlier sea level. They consist of stone walls, up to 3m
wide and 1.1m high, but usually much slighter, and formed of heaped rubble,
often incorporating edge- or end-set slabs called orthostats.
Linear boundaries served a variety of functions. These may include separating
land regularly cultivated from that less intensively used, separating land
held by different social groups, and forming functional divisions such as the
delineation of land set aside for ceremonial, religious and funerary activity.
Linear boundaries are often associated with other forms of contemporary field
system. The Isles of Scilly also contain a distinctive association, rarely
encountered elsewhere, whereby certain linear boundaries directly link several
cairns, entrance graves and cists in some groups of prehistoric funerary
Although no precise figure is available, linear boundaries form a substantial
proportion of the 71 surviving areas of prehistoric field systems recorded on
the Isles of Scilly. They provide significant insights into the physical and
social organisation of past landscapes and they provide important evidence for
the wider contemporary context within which other nationally important
monuments were constructed.
These platform cairns and their adjacent linear boundary on Wingletang Down
have survived well, their close association being a distinctive feature found
elsewhere on the Isles of Scilly but unusual and rare nationally. The presence
of these cairns 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 demonstrate well the nature of land use among
prehistoric communities and the organisation of funerary and farming

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 for Cornwall SMR entry PRN 7016, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 for Cornwall SMR entry PRN 7016.17, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 for Cornwall SMR entry PRN 7016.18, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 for Cornwall SMR entry PRN 7016.20, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries PRN 7010; 7013; 7019, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries PRN 7011; 7015; 7016; 7018, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107s for Cornwall SMR entries PRN 7020; 7056; 7057; 7059, (1988)
Morley, B. & Rees, S., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1014, 1975, consulted 1993
Morley, B. & Rees, S., Scheduling maplet accompanying AM7 for CO 1014, 1975, consulted 1993
Title: 1:2500 Map; SV 8807
Source Date: 1980

Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 8807
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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