Ancient Monuments

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Two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Kea, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2375 / 50°14'14"N

Longitude: -5.0663 / 5°3'58"W

OS Eastings: 181442.3147

OS Northings: 41996.7016

OS Grid: SW814419

Mapcode National: GBR ZD.N4CV

Mapcode Global: FRA 088D.J31

Entry Name: Two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1972

Last Amended: 5 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019503

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32930

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Kea

Built-Up Area: Playing Place

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Kea

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The scheduling includes two later prehistoric to Romano-British rounds, with
evidence for the use of one as a medieval 'plain an gwarry' or playing place,
situated on a slight south east slope on the south west shoulder of a ridge
north of Playing Place. The scheduling is divided into two separate areas of
The northern round is sub-oval in plan, measuring approximately 60m north-
south by 45m east-west. On the north, east and south sides, it has a single
enclosing bank of earth and stone approximately 5m wide, with a buried
external ditch of similar width, now largely silted. On the west side, the
bank is considered to be incorporated in an earth and stone boundary bank with
stone facing, relatively modern in its present form, 2.3m wide and 1.3m high.
Slight remains of the external ditch are visible on the west side as a
depression 3.5m wide and 0.2m deep.
The southern round is an irregular sub-oval in plan, measuring approximately
50m north-south by 40m east-west. It has a single enclosing bank of earth and
stone approximately 5m wide and a buried external ditch of similar width
visible as cropmarks around three sides, with a modern boundary bank 2m wide
and 2m high considered to incorporate the bank on the south west.
An early 19th century map marks Playing Place at the site, and this has since
been established as the place name of the adjacent modern settlement. The term
denotes a medieval playing place or (in Cornish) `plain an gwarry', a circular
embanked arena used for the performance of miracle plays. One of the
enclosures in this scheduling is therefore considered to have been used in
this way.

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 enclosures, one of a range of settlement types
dating to between the later Iron Age and the early post-Roman period. Usually
circular or oval, they have a single earth and rubble bank and an outer ditch,
with one entrance breaking the circuit.
Excavations have produced drystone supporting walls within the bank, paved or
cobbled entrance ways, post built gate structures, and remains of timber, turf
or stone built houses of oval or rectangular plan, often set around the inner
edge of the enclosing bank. Other evidence includes hearths, drains, gullies,
pits and rubbish middens. Evidence for industrial activities has been
recovered from some sites, including small scale metal working and, among the
domestic debris, items traded from distant sources. Some rounds are associated
with secondary enclosures, either abutting the round as an annexe or forming
an additional enclosure.
Rounds are viewed primarily as agricultural settlements, the equivalents of
farming hamlets. They were replaced by unenclosed settlement types by the 7th
century AD. Over 750 rounds are recorded in the British Isles, occurring in
areas bordering the Irish Seas, but confined in England to south west Devon
and especially Cornwall, where many more examples may await discovery. Most
recorded examples are sited on hillslopes and spurs.
Rounds are important as one of the major sources of information on settlement
and social organisation of the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west
England. Consequently, sites with significant surviving remains will normally
be considered to be of national importance.

The two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm
survive reasonably well. Despite reduction of the enclosures by ploughing,
they remain visible where incorporated into later boundary banks, and are
clearly and fully defined on aerial photographs. The old land surface
underlying the ramparts on the west side, and remains of buildings, structures
and other deposits associated with the base of the ramparts and the external
ditches, and with the interiors of the enclosures, can be expected to survive.
The close grouping of the two rounds is unusual and can provide important
information on later prehistoric to Roman period social and economic
organisation, while the association with a medieval plain an gwarry may
illustrate one form of reuse of this monument type.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Padel, O J, Cornish placename elements, (1985), 52, 146
Padel, O J, Cornish Place-Names, (1988), 139
Doble, G H, 'Cornish Saints' in Cornish Saints, , Vol. 20, (1930), 34
Henderson, C, 'Parochial Antiquities' in Parochial Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1918), 136-137
Johnson, N, CAU SMR, (1975)
Mercer, R, AM7, (1970)
SW 84 SW 7, Pitcher, G, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1965)
Title: Kea Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1840

Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1880

Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing
Source Date: 1811

Source: Historic England

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