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Earlier Prehistoric hillfort, two cairns, medieval pound and adjacent Prehistoric field systems, hut circles and transhumance huts on Stowe's Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Linkinhorne, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5278 / 50°31'39"N

Longitude: -4.4598 / 4°27'35"W

OS Eastings: 225748.726095

OS Northings: 72664.316042

OS Grid: SX257726

Mapcode National: GBR NG.J089

Mapcode Global: FRA 17KN.LBW

Entry Name: Earlier Prehistoric hillfort, two cairns, medieval pound and adjacent Prehistoric field systems, hut circles and transhumance huts on Stowe's Hill

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1963

Last Amended: 13 October 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012352

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15071

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Linkinhorne

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Linkinhorne

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a large, earlier Prehistoric hillfort containing
numerous house platforms, a stone hut circle and two funerary cairns. The
southern part of the hillfort was later re-used to form a medieval stock
pound. Irregular Prehistoric field systems incorporating hut circles,
clearance cairns and two early medieval transhumance huts are situated
immediately adjacent to the hillfort's outer wall. The monument is situated
close to the NE edge of a major concentration of Bronze Age ritual monuments
on Craddock and Rillaton Moors, on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
The hillfort is indicated by a large drystone enclosure wall which exhibits
occasional areas of both inner and outer facing stones. The wall is up to 5.5m
wide and 1.5m high, enclosing the oval 5ha area of the hill's summit plateau.
Earth-fast boulders and small rock out crops are incorporated at many points
along the wall and its course includes many narrow gaps. Two original
entrances are present near the centres of the east and west sides. A hollowed
trackway passes from the inner enclosure, through the west entrance and
continues down the west slope of the hill, bounded by rubble walling along its
upper course. The interior of the inner enclosure contains over one hundred
small, levelled and cleared areas, averaging 10m diameter, forming platforms
for Prehistoric timber round houses and associated structures. The house
platforms cluster densely between the east and west entrances and in the
southern part of the enclosure. A single stone hut circle is located near the
NW edge of the inner enclosure; it has a circular wall, 1.5m wide, of stone
rubble faced by upright slabs on each side, enclosing an 8m diameter internal
area and with a clear entrance gap to the WSW. Two stone funerary cairns are
situated on low rock outcrops in this enclosure's north sector. One, on the
enclosure's long axis, comprises a low platform, 17m diameter, supporting a
peripheral bank and a central mound rising to 1.4m high; the other, near the
enclosure's NE edge, has a central mound, 12m diameter, surrounded by traces
of two low encircling banks.
The southern edge of the inner enclosure abuts a smaller pear-shaped enclosure
encompassing the 0.75ha area of higher rocky outcrops at the southern tip of
the hill's summit. The stone wall of this southern enclosure is up to 12.5m
wide and 4.5m high and incorporates many of the large rock outcrops;
stone-robbing at the wall's south corner exposes its internal structure of
upright slabs, called orthostats, up to 1.7m high, arranged as two rows 3m
apart. This southern enclosure was re-used as a stock pound during the
medieval period and contains over ten levelled and cleared areas in its
otherwise highly irregular and rocky surface.
Extensive outworks surround the hillfort's inner and southern enclosures.
Three lines of stone walling run along the hillslope approximately concentric
with the inner enclosure wall. The highest of these walls survives on the SE,
NE, north and west sides of the hill, running 9.5m-20m beyond the inner
enclosure wall but veering out to a distance of 66m opposite the enclosure's
west entrance. Cross-walls link this outwork to the inner enclosure wall on
each side of the east entrance; similar walling north and south of the west
entrance form an irregular enclosure around the upper approach to that
entrance. The intermediate concentric wall extends for only 98m, situated 38m
beyond the NE sector of the inner enclosure wall. The outermost wall encircles
the hill's lower slope, 94m-172m beyond the inner enclosure wall, and is
almost continuous around the north and west sectors from the NE to the SW
sides of the hill. Its major gap extends 55m south from its junction with the
hollow trackway from the west entrance. Centred in this gap is a circular
Prehistoric enclosure, 22m in external diameter, of double-faced stone walling
with an entrance to the west and containing a stone hut circle, 5.25m external
diameter, built into its north side. A stone wall links this enclosure with
the enclosure around the west entrance approach.
The approach to the eastern entrance of the inner enclosure is defined as a
funnel shape by two outworks. That on the north side runs directly downslope,
eastwards, surviving for 158m, while the wall on the south side runs similarly
downslope for only 30m, then curves gently round to the south along the hill's
lower slope, surviving to the edge of the 19th-century quarry dumps on the SE
side of the hill.
Areas of Prehistoric fields and settlement adjoin the SE and west sides of the
hillfort. That to the SE comprises the NW edge of two subrectangular fields
bounded by largely turf-covered stone walls 1m wide and 0.5m high. The
surviving west wall of this field system joins the hillfort's SE outwork
shortly before it meets the 19th-century quarry spoil. The field system's east
and SW sides are also truncated by 19th-century disturbance. Within the
western field's north corner is a single hut circle, 6.5m internal diameter
with stone rubble walls 1m wide and 0.3m high; its entrance gap to the SW is
defined by an upright stone jamb to each side.
The Prehistoric field system west of the hillfort occupies an area of c.4.5ha
west and south from the point where the hollow trackway reaches the hillfort's
outermost concentric wall. The field system survives as a series of at least
ten low broad banks of stone, up to 6m wide and 1m high, running roughly
east-west down the hill's gentle lower slope. These comprise material cleared
from the intervening areas, which, in the northern half of the field system,
contain curving turf-covered banks of earth and stone called lynchets,
resulting from soil creeping downhill to the lower boundary of the cleared
cultivation plots. In the southern half of the field system, the far gentler
slope has much reduced the visible extent of lynchetting. Within the cleared
areas are numerous small rounded heaps of stone, called clearance cairns, the
result of further stone clearance from the cultivated area. At least eighteen
such clearance cairns are present, ranging in size 1.5m - 7m diameter and 0.3m
- 1m high. Further clearance cairns have been constructed on some of the
cleared-stone banks. Two stone hut circles are situated within the field
system, each comprising a rubble wall with internal slabs. One is centred 26m
west of the hillfort's outwork and is 8m in external diameter with an entrance
gap to the NE; the other, centred 178m to the west, is 6m in external diameter
but lacks a visible entrance: its NW sector has been truncated by a medieval
tin-streamers' cutting. A circular house platform, 7.2m diameter, similar to
those within the hillfort, is situated at the eastern end of one of the
cleared-stone banks, 25m SW of the larger hut circle.
The rubble walls of two small subrectangular buildings, typical of early
medieval herders' shelters called transhumance huts, are built into the field
system's clearance features. A small dam for a medieval tin-streamers'
reservoir has been constructed between two of the cleared-stone banks near the
centre of the field system; the dam comprises two short earth-and-rubble
banks, 5m wide and 1.2m high, converging downslope from the Prehistoric banks
to a narrow gap formerly occupied by a sluice.
The modern post-and-wire fence bounding the edge of the Cheesewring quarry is
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time.

Earlier Prehistoric hillforts are large fortified settlement sites dating to
the Neolithic period (c.3500 - 2000 BC). They may be recognised by single or
multiple stone-rubble walls or earthen banks enclosing all or part of a
hilltop. The boundaries often vary in size, incorporate numerous small
entrance gaps and commonly include substantial natural rock outcrops and
scarps in their circuit. Ditches, sometimes similarly with intermittent
breaks, occasionally accompany the enclosing banks. The hillfort enclosures,
up to 10ha in extent, usually contain cleared and levelled house platforms,
funerary cairns and occasional stone hut circles. The few recent excavations
on this class of monument have revealed numerous internal timber and stake-
built structures and pits associated with large quantities of undisturbed
Neolithic settlement debris including animal bone, charcoal, flint artefacts,
pottery and stone tools. Many of these finds or their raw materials were
originally brought to the hillforts from considerable distances away and
excavations have also produced evidence for warfare at some sites. Extensive
outworks are associated with most of these hillforts, either roughly
concentric with the inner enclosure or connecting a series of related
enclosures. Under twenty Earlier Prehistoric hillforts are known nationally,
concentrated in the uplands of south-western England from the Cotswolds and
Dorset to west Cornwall, with a very few isolated possible examples elsewhere
in S England. They are a very rare monument type, highly representative of
their period as one of the major sources of information on social organisation
and interaction during the Neolithic. Consequently all Earlier Prehistoric
hillforts that are not extensively damaged will be considered of national
importance. The Early Prehistoric hillfort on Stowe's Hill is one of the
largest and best preserved examples. It has not been excavated and has
suffered only minor disturbance from later activities, allowing the
preservation of extensive areas of original deposits beneath the peat cover
and hill-slope debris. It is directly related to the adjacent Prehistoric
field systems and settlements and is close to a major Bronze Age ritual area,
demonstrating well the role of this Earlier Prehistoric hillfort in the
developing organisation of land use during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, (1982), 187
Darvill, T, Prehistoric Britain, (1987), 59-63
Hawkes, J, Guide to the Prehistoric and Roman Monuments in England & Wales, (1951), 159
Polsue, J, Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall, (1870), 132
Rowse, A L, The Little Land of Cornwall, (1986), 44
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 334-5
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 334-7
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 334-7
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 38, 388
Todd, M, The South-West to A.D. 1000, (1987), 73-7
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 74-5
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 75
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 71-77
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 71-7
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 76
Fletcher, M J, 'From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell' in Stowe's Pound, , Vol. 209, (1989), 71-7
Mercer, R J, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Excavations At Carn Brea, Illogan, Cornwall, , Vol. 20, (1981), 1-204
Silvester, R J, 'Prehistoric Dartmoor in its Context. DAS Jubilee Conference Proc' in The Rel of 1st Millen Settlement to the Upland Areas of the SW, , Vol. 37, (1979), 176-190
Carter, A/RCHME amended by Hooley, A D, AP transcription, SX 2672, amended with data from 1991 re-survey, (1991)
consulted 1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 14073,
consulted 3/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 Air Photo Transcription, SX 2672,
consulted 3/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 Air Photo Transcription: SX 2671 & SX 2672,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1359,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1401.01,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1401: Stowe's Pound,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1415,
Consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1437,
Consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1438,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1439 (part) & 14073,
Consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1439 (part),
Consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1440.01,
Fig 2, Fletcher, M J, Stowe's Pound, c.1:2080 plan, in: Stowe's Pound, From Cornwall to Caithness. Papers presented to Norman Quinnell, (1989)
Forthcoming; draft text consulted, CAU, RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey (Volume 1), The Prehistoric and Historic Landscape,
Quinnell, N V amended by Hooley, A D, AP transcription, SX 2672, amended with data from 1991 re-survey, (1991)
Raymond, F, EH Monument Class Description: Hilltop Enclosures, (1988)
SMR/7 & plan GRH 124/4, SX 2672 SW, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1440.03,
SMR7 texts & plan GRH 124/4 SX 2672SW, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1440,
Title: Ordnance Survey 6": 1 mile Map: Cornwall XXVIII NW
Source Date: 1907

Source: Historic England

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