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Eleven round barrows and a stone alignment centred 980m north west of Nine Maidens Stone Row

A Scheduled Monument in St. Columb Major, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4774 / 50°28'38"N

Longitude: -4.9182 / 4°55'5"W

OS Eastings: 193042.871903

OS Northings: 68247.366319

OS Grid: SW930682

Mapcode National: GBR ZP.F1C1

Mapcode Global: FRA 07LS.MRR

Entry Name: Eleven round barrows and a stone alignment centred 980m north west of Nine Maidens Stone Row

Scheduled Date: 9 February 1959

Last Amended: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021161

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32981

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Columb Major

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Issey

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The scheduling includes eleven prehistoric round barrows and a stone
alignment situated on Prince's Common and Tredinnick Common, on the hill
called St Issey Beacon or High Barn, north of St Columb Major. Three of
the barrows, and the stone alignment, lie south of the hilltop where
fairly flat ground extends towards a broad ridge; the other barrows are on
the level summit of the Beacon, and on its rounded north east shoulder.
The barrows are closely associated with others outside the scheduling,
together forming a wider hill and ridgetop barrow cemetery. With the stone
alignment they are also associated with further prehistoric funerary and
ritual monuments nearby, again beyond this scheduling. The barrows are
fairly closely but unevenly spaced, with two neighbouring pairs among
them. The three southern barrows form a nearly straight line running
north-south; the stone alignment is similarly orientated, and these two
formations coincide for much of their length, so that elements of them are
interspersed. The scheduling is divided into seven separate areas of
protection. The southernmost barrow in the scheduling, and in the row of
three orientated with the stone alignment, lies on the slight saddle
between the hilltop and the ridge. This site has been identified as that
mentioned in an early account as Retallick Barrow. The barrow is oval in
plan, its dimensions being approximately 15m east-west by 22m north-south
and up to 2.1m high. It has an earth mound with no known external ditch.
The mound has an irregular profile, having a hollow up to 5m across and
1.7m deep in the centre, attributed to antiquarian excavation. Raised
ground adjoining the mound on the south is the result of relatively recent
modification.
The next barrow, on the south of the summit, is slightly oval in plan,
measuring up to 28.2m north-south by 26.7m east-west, and is up to 1.3m
high. It has an earth and stone mound, steep sided and fairly level on
top, with a circular raised area in its centre, again flat topped, around
10m across and 0.2m high. A hollow in the centre up to 3m across and 0.6m
deep is thought to represent modern disturbance. On the south west side,
traces of a ditch surrounding the mound are visible in the form of a
curving depression up to 3m wide and 0.2m deep.
To the north is the third, northernmost barrow of the row. This has a low
oval earth mound, with no ditch. The mound is considered to be reduced and
possibly truncated on the north, but measures in the region of 6.5m
NNE-SSW by 5m ESE-WNW and 0.3m high.
The stone alignment extends for approximately 205m, from north of
Retallick Barrow to north of the third barrow described above. Four
component stones are known. The intervals between them are uneven, being
approximately 63m, 52m, and 90m (moving from south to north). The stones
are similar, unworked blocks of local type with much white quartz (the
second stone from the south has a crystalline southern surface), measuring
0.2m to 0.4m across, and 0.3m to 0.5m high above ground. In plan, the base
of the stone on the north is roughly square, while the others are more
rectangular. The longer faces of the three rectangular stones are set
north-south in the direction of the alignment. In the shapes of their
outlines, the stones vary, the two in the centre being pointed while the
others are flatter.
Continuing north and east across the scheduling, the next barrow is near
the highest point of the hill. The barrow has a sub-circular earth mound,
up to 5.5m across and 0.4m high. It appears to be of platform type, having
a flat top, though this appears slightly reduced on the south east. No
external ditch is known.
Further to the NNW are two barrows on the north side of the summit. The
southern one has an earth and stone mound with no ditch, 10m in diameter
and up to 1.3m high. It has a distinctive profile, with a raised rim and
rounded centre. The rim is some 2m wide and is 1m high above the
surrounding ground level, and 0.3m-0.4m high on the inside. The mound
surface has been disturbed north of centre, leaving a hollow several
metres across and 0.3m deep.
The barrow to the NNE is shown on aerial photographs and an early survey
as a low platform like mound approximately 14m in diameter, with several
stones on its edge thought to form part of a retaining kerb, and a central
exploration trench. The barrow is visible on the ground as a slight rise,
with a possible quartz kerb stone around 0.6m across on the east. There
are no indications of a ditch.
Continuing eastwards, on the north east of the summit is a platform type
barrow with an earth and stone mound and no evidence of a ditch. The mound
measures 22m across and is in the region of 1m high.
The first close set pair of barrows is nearby to the east, above the north
east shoulder of the hill. Each of these barrows has a mound with a
clay-like fabric visible, and no indication of a ditch. The south western
one is approximately 16.5m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. Some
disturbance has occurred, giving the mound an uneven profile, but it has
remains of an outer rim several metres wide on the south and west, and of
a raised area north east of its centre.
The neighbouring mound to the north east measures around 14m across and up
to 0.7m high. Its southern half has a fairly level top, suggesting that it
is of platform type, though its northern half has been reduced relatively
recently to a height of around 0.3m.
The second closely set pair of barrows lies to the north, on the upper
north east slopes of the Beacon. The first of these, to the south, is
approximately 9.1m in diameter overall. It has an earth and stone mound
6.7m across and up to 0.4m high, with a gently curving profile. Its top
has been disturbed near the centre, leaving a hollow up to 2.5m wide and
0.1m deep. Slight depressions around the south and west of the mound are
considered to derive from a buried or silted external ditch.
The northern barrow in this pair, and the north easternmost in the
scheduling, measures 18.7m across overall. Its mound is some 13.2m across
and 2m high, and is recorded as containing a clay capping above a stony
layer. There is also evidence of a stone kerb. The external ditch varies
in width from 2.5m to 3m, and is around 0.4m deep. A hole up to 5m across
and 1m deep in the centre of the mound is probably the result of
antiquarian exploration, while a flat-bottomed excavation some 5m wide and
up to 1.7m deep on its north east may be of more recent origin.
The modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to
the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC.
They were constructed as earthen mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered
single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries and often acted as a focus of burials in later periods. Often
superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit
regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are
over 10,000 surviving examples recorded nationally (many more have already
been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area
where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl
or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major
historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the
diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
protection.

Despite limited modification, the eleven round barrows and a stone
alignment centred 980m north west of Nine Maidens Stone Row survive well.
The underlying old land surfaces of the barrows, and remains of any
structures or other deposits associated with these and with the upstanding
earthworks, will also survive. Differences in form, size, and
construction, characteristic of round barrows, are represented here; while
the survival of external ditches illustrates regional variation. The
prominent hilltop location shows the important role of topography in
prehistoric ritual and funerary activity. Stone alignments or rows consist
of upright stones set in a single line, or in two or more parallel lines,
up to several hundred metres in length. As here, they are often located
close to prehistoric burial monuments and are therefore thought to have
had a ceremonial function. Stone alignments were constructed and used from
the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age periods (c.2500-1000BC) and
provide rare evidence for ceremonial practice at this time.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Polsue, J (ed), 'Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall' in Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall, , Vol. 1, (1867), 227
Other
Herring, P to Parkes, C, (2002)
Herring, P to Parkes, C, (2003)
Mr Heard to Parkes, C, (2003)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
OS 96 NW 33, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1959)
SW 96 NW 27, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 29, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 3, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 32, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 33, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 33, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 46, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project
Source Date: 1995
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1810
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1810
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Date approx
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1880
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1908
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey Index Card
Source Date: 1977
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
SW 96 NW 27
Title: Pydar Map and notes
Source Date: 1842
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
MS at RIC library, Truro
Title: St Columb Major Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1840
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
2095
Title: St Issey Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1841
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Title: St Issey Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1841
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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