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Later prehistoric to Roman round incorporating contemporary fogou at Halliggye

A Scheduled Monument in Mawgan-in-Meneage, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0715 / 50°4'17"N

Longitude: -5.197 / 5°11'49"W

OS Eastings: 171329.239465

OS Northings: 23938.751625

OS Grid: SW713239

Mapcode National: GBR Z5.1RXR

Mapcode Global: FRA 080T.F5C

Entry Name: Later prehistoric to Roman round incorporating contemporary fogou at Halliggye

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1954

Last Amended: 25 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013801

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15414

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Mawgan-in-Meneage

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Mawgan-in-Meneage

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a later prehistoric to Roman enclosed settlement called
a round, incorporating a contemporary complex of underground walled passages
called a fogou. The monument is situated in the hamlet of Halliggye, on a low
hill overlooking the southern upper tributaries of the Helford River in south
west Cornwall. The fogou and its adjoining plots form a monument in the care
of the Secretary of State.

The round is situated on gently sloping land west of the hill's summit and is
defined by surviving parts of two curving concentric ramparts, 18m-22m apart
crest to crest, with a broad sunken ditch between them. Parts of the ramparts
are incorporated into modern field and plot boundaries around the present
hamlet of Halliggye but their origin as a rampart of quarried stony subsoil
has been confirmed by excavation across the modern boundary north west of the
fogou. The outermost rampart is visible around the north east quadrant of the
enclosure, where it forms a distinct evenly curved bank, 80m long, defining
the north east side of the modern hamlet and incorporated into the surrounding
and generally more irregular network of Cornish hedges. The bank is 2m-3m
wide, rising to 1.5m high on the outer, north eastern side and to 2.5m high on
the inner side. Along its outer side, a slight hollow up to 3.5m wide and 0.5m
deep, is considered to derive from a largely silted outer ditch.

The inner face of the outer rampart drops to the broad curving ditch between
the ramparts. The present flat surface of this ditch remains at a level
generally 1m-1.5m below the land to either side and is now occupied by an
unmetalled track; a slender plot within the ditch against its south western
side at its northern end is a much later modification. This inter-rampart
ditch also survives as a visible feature around the north east sector of the
round; however excavation in 1980-82 confirmed the continuation of the
ditch on the north west side of the round. There, the northernmost narrow
passage of the fogou ended at a doorway in the base of the ditch's original
profile, 1.83m below the ground surface. The excavation showed that this
doorway was later blocked and a much wider and deeper ditch was dug beyond it,
over 3.65m deep. This enlarged ditch was eventually deliberately backfilled,
probably during the Roman period.

The surviving line of the innermost rampart is visible on the north east,
north west and western sides of the round. On the north east, its curving
outer scarp forms the inner face of the ditch and is 1.5m-2m high, concentric
with the outer rampart and largely incorporated into a garden and property
boundary of the modern hamlet. The rampart here is up to c.3m wide and the
present ground level contained within it rises up to its crest over most of
this sector, masking much of its inner face.

On the north west, the inner rampart is partly preserved within the fabric of
the modern hedgebank which forms the north west boundary of the present
hamlet's garden plots. This was demonstrated by the 1980-82 excavation north
of the fogou, which indicated the stone-revetted north west face of the
modern boundary is a much later truncation of the former rampart, the bulk of
which extended back from that truncated face. To the south west however, the
present straight north west-south west alignment of this modern boundary parts
from the original course of the rampart at a tangent, while the curve of the
rampart's inner face is considered to be mirrored by the course of the curving
western passage of the fogou, described below. Beyond the south west end of
that passage, the line of the inner rampart's outer face reappears on the
western side of the round as a well defined scarp, 0.7m high, curving across a
modern garden plot.

The southern half of the inner rampart's circuit has been destroyed by the
construction along its course of the hamlet's modern buildings, some of which
are of medieval origin, and yards on plots levelled into the slope, but the
surviving evidence of its northern circuit indicates this rampart defined a
sub-circular internal area of approximately 50m diameter, encompassing
c.0.2ha. Apart from the fogou, this area and those internal features
contemporary with the round's occupation are overlain by the hamlet's modern
gardens; a north west-south east hedgebank that bisects the internal area of
the round and passes over the fogou's curved passage has been identified as a
late feature, pertaining to the medieval and later development of the
monument, while level differences to each side of that hedge reflect terracing
of the natural slope within the round to create garden plots for the medieval
and later houses of the hamlet. The surfaces of these garden plots remain well
above the level at which surviving occupation deposits were recovered in
excavations of the round beside the fogou.

The fogou itself is situated in the north west sector of the round. Its
passages run entirely underground and are built partly in a rock-cut trench,
walled with drystone rubble and roofed by large covering slabs, called
capstones, laid flat across the passages. In plan the fogou contains several
distinct sections, shown by the 1980-82 excavation to derive from development
over a number of phases.

The fogou is entered from within the north west of the round's interior, where
modern steps descend to the floor of an open passage, 0.7m wide and 4.5m long,
which slopes down to the north west towards the opening of a straight,
covered, north west-south east passage. The open sector is now faced by modern
walling but its sloping floor is original and reflects the rise to the fogou's
original entrance to the round's interior. The 1980s excavations revealed
that this open portion of the fogou was extensively robbed of its stone during
the early post-medieval period but enough survived to indicate that its former
walling was a later rebuild added to the south east end of the straight
passage, considerably narrowing the approach to the round's interior and also
involving some modification at the end of the straight passage. The excavation
also indicated that a deposit of earth c.1m deep was laid onto the old ground
surface over the rebuilt passage, such that this entry passage to the fogou
would originally have been visible as a low mound within the round's interior.
Pottery evidence suggests that this alteration and rebuild took place between
c.75 BC and AD 50.

On a slightly different alignment from the sloping entrance, the straight
passage extends north west for 8.55m and is 1.7m wide by 1.85m high, its upper
rubble walling sloping inwards slightly below the capstones. At its north west
end the passage ends at a rubble blocking containing a doorway, 0.9m high and
0.6m wide, framed by massive slabs.

From the doorway, a much narrower passage continues for a further 4.5m north
west but again, on a slightly different alignment to the straight passage.
This narrow passage, called the `northern creep', is up to 0.75m wide and 1m
high but narrows to 0.5m wide and 0.7m high by its north west end where it
terminates at a slab-covered doorway, later blocked, which opened onto the
base of the round's original ditch as the original entrance to the fogou from
outside the round's inner rampart, as described above. That opening now has a
modern blocking to the infilled ditch. The northern creep is divided into two
almost equal halves by a slab-built doorway, 0.7m high and 0.5m wide.

Immediately south east of this doorway are gaps in the wall rubble considered
to have housed a drawbar to seal the creep passage as necessary. The 1980s
excavation also revealed that the south eastern half of the creep, together
with its doorway opening to the straight passage, is a later rebuild
constricting the formerly longer north west end of the straight passage.
In the south west wall of the straight passage, 2m before its north west end,
a second slab-framed doorway gives access to a long curving passage extending
south west for 18.75m. The initial 2m of this passage from the doorway is
straight and constricted to 0.8m-1m wide and 1.25m high. Beyond this
restricted entry, the passage enlarges to 1.3m wide and 1.85m high, adopting
an even curve over 15m to the south west, to a point where the passage floor
is crossed by a ridge of unquarried bedrock, 0.6m high and 0.45m wide. The
1980s excavation indicated that this ridge marks the original terminal of the
curved passage and that its present 1.75m continuation to the south west is a
later addition, its walls built using generally smaller rubble than was
employed for the main length of the passage. This later terminal ends against
bedrock but before this, in its ESE face, a very small doorway, 0.5m high and
0.35m wide, provides access to a further short passage, 3m long and up to 1m
wide, referred to as the `southern creep'. The southern creep also ends
against bedrock. The terminals of neither the curved passage nor the southern
creep show any evidence for providing points of entry to the fogou; such an
entrance would be unlikely as the curved passage would be overlain by the
round's inner rampart; by matching the curve of the passage with the curve of
the inner rampart, the depth to which the passage had to be dug to conceal it
beneath the ground was lessened as it would be covered by the rampart. An
opening in the upper south east wall near the centre of the curved passage was
created by 19th century antiquarians; it is approached from the south east by
a stone-built stairwell, now largely filled with earth, and is not an original
feature of the fogou.

In addition to elucidating the structural elements of the fogou, the
excavations of the 1980s also produced some artefactual debris, notably
pottery, relating to the occupation of the round and the construction of the
fogou; the interior of the fogou itself was found to contain only sparse
silted deposits apart from the much later robbing debris. The pottery
indicated an Iron Age to Roman occupation with a date range from the fourth-
fifth century BC to at least the 2nd century AD, with a remodelling of the
fogou's entrance to the round's interior between c.75 BC and AD 50. The
pottery also suggested the deliberate backfilling of the round's recut ditch
in the Roman period. The round may have been abandoned and the fogou finally
sealed at that point but the presence of pottery dating from early post-Roman
period through the medieval period to the present day indicates a long
continuity of later settlement associated with the round, which received its
first documentary reference, as the settlement and manor of `Heligin' in the
Domesday Book in 1086.

The dissected terrain around Halliggye contains an unusually high density of
surviving settlement sites broadly contemporary with the Iron Age to Roman
occupation of the round; these include other rounds in analogous hill-slope
situations at Caervallack and at Tremayne, 1.35km and 2.3km to the north east
respectively; at Burncoose and at Lower Treloskan, 1.9km and 2.65km to the
south west respectively, and above Gweek Wood, 2.4km to the north west. A much
larger enclosed settlement, a hillfort called Gear Camp, is situated across a
spur from 1km NNE of this monument.

All English Heritage notices, fixtures and fittings, (including modern steps
and walling) all garden furniture, modern fences, gates, the greenhouse and
the stone-built privy are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath
them 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

Rounds are small embanked and ditched enclosures which form one of a range of
known settlement types dating to the later Iron Age and Roman periods (c.400
BC - AD 400). The enclosure is often sub-circular but may be sub-rectangular
or irregular, and is usually defined by an earth-and-rubble rampart and outer
ditch, occasionally with an outer rampart. The defences are usually broken by
a single entrance gap. Excavated examples have revealed drystone supporting
walls within the bank, paved or cobbled entrance ways and post-built gate
structures. Excavated features within rounds include foundations for timber or
stone built houses of oval or rectangular plan, often set around the inner
edge of the enclosing bank. Other features include hearths, drains, gullies,
pits and rubbish middens. Evidence for industrial activity has been recovered
from some sites, including small scale metal-working, and some domestic
artefacts include items traded from far distant sources. Some rounds are
associated with secondary enclosures, often circular or rectangular, and
either butted against the round as an annexe or forming an additional
enclosure up to 100m away.

Four rounds in west Cornwall are also associated with fogous, underground
passages up to 30m long and 2m wide, usually with side passages and/or
chambers. The passages' drystone walls were initially built in a trench,
roofed with flat slabs, then covered by earth. Fogous also have an Iron Age
and Roman period date range for their use, though with little evidence for
their construction after the end of the Iron Age. At least 12 fogous are known
to have surviving remains, their national distribution restricted to the far
west of Cornwall, in West Penwith and around the upper Helford River. Besides
rounds, fogous are associated with various forms of contemporary settlement
site including courtyard house settlements and hillforts. The original
functions of fogous are not fully understood; safe refuges, entrances, storage
areas and ritual shrines have been proposed as possibilities, with particular
emphasis on the refuge theory.

In the Iron Age to Roman settlement hierarchy, rounds are viewed as primarily
agricultural settlements, the equivalent of the later farming hamlets, and are
usually sited on hill-slopes and spurs. No excavated examples were constructed
after the end of the second century AD and rounds had been replaced by
unenclosed early medieval settlement types by the seventh century AD, usually
on different, lower sites but very occasionally replacing the round on the
same site.

Over 400 rounds are recorded nationally, confined in England to Cornwall and
south west Devon but closely related to similar settlement forms in Wales and
Ireland. The national total may increase significantly as new discoveries of
rounds occur frequently, especially through the study of aerial photographs.
Rounds are important sources of information on the nature and pattern of
settlement and on social organisation during the Iron Age and Roman periods in
south west England.

The round at Halliggye survives with its interior substantially intact and
with sufficient of its defensive circuit to confirm its original form despite
the loss of its southern periphery to medieval and later building. It is one
of the few examples of a round containing a fogou. Furthermore, the fifth-
fourth century BC dates for the earliest occupation debris revealed by
excavation around the fogou make this one of the earliest known rounds, and
it is one of the few rounds where near continuous settlement can be
demonstrated from the Iron Age, through the Roman and medieval periods to the
present day, supported by excavated evidence and, for later periods, by
documentary reference. The unusually good survival of broadly contemporary
settlement sites in this area, of which this monument forms an integral part,
is important for our understanding of the settlement patterns, economy and
social organisation during the Iron Age and Roman periods. The fogou in this
monument is the largest and most complex example of this rare and unusual
class of monument and it has survived well; the excavations were limited in
extent, leaving the entire built structure and most surrounding deposits
intact while considerably amplifying our knowledge of the nature and
development of the fogou and the round containing it.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clarke, E, Cornish Fougous, (1961)
Clarke, E, Cornish Fougous, (1961), 28-34
Hencken, H O'N, The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly, (1932)
Hencken, H O'N, The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly, (1932)
Thorn, C, F, , Doomsday Book; 10: Cornwall, (1979)
Thorn, C, F, , Doomsday Book; 10: Cornwall, (1979)
Iago, W, Vyvyan, R R, Blight, J T, 'JRIC' in The Fogou, or Cave, at Halligey, Trelowarren, (1885), 243-263
Iago, W, Vyvyan, R R, Blight, J T, 'JRIC' in The Fogou, or Cave, at Halligey, Trelowarren, (1885), 243-263
Startin, D W A, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Halligye Fogou: Excavations in 1981, , Vol. 21, (1982), 185-6
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 24693,
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 24758,
DoE/HBMC, Ancient Monuments Terrier for CO 387, Halliggye Fougou, (1984)
DoE/HBMC, Ancient Monuments Terrier for CO 387; Halliggye Fougou, (1984)
Johns, C, Halliggye Fogou, November 1991: Report to English Heritage, 1991, Unpublished report text
Johns, C, Halliggye Fogou, November 1991: Report to English Heritage, 1991, Unpublished report text
Startin, D W A, Halligey Fogou: Excavations 1980-82, Unpublished first draft
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map: SW 7123
Source Date: 1994
1994 updated Horizon V2 printout
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Maps: 'SW52/62 & part SW72' and 'Parts SW72 & SW82'
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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