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Nine round barrows 850m north east of Pennatillie

A Scheduled Monument in St. Columb Major, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4692 / 50°28'9"N

Longitude: -4.9407 / 4°56'26"W

OS Eastings: 191416.7628

OS Northings: 67393.8454

OS Grid: SW914673

Mapcode National: GBR ZN.3FH2

Mapcode Global: FRA 07JT.C0X

Entry Name: Nine round barrows 850m north east of Pennatillie

Scheduled Date: 13 February 1958

Last Amended: 12 November 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021222

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32985

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Columb Major

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Columb Major

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The scheduling includes nine prehistoric round barrows, situated on the
level summit and moderate northern and western slopes of a rounded hill
north of St Columb Major. They are associated with other barrows beyond
this scheduling, together forming a wider hill and ridge-top barrow
cemetery. The barrows are fairly widely and evenly spaced, apart from two
which form a neighbouring pair. Five are dispersed west-east over the
summit of the hill, though they are not very closely aligned with one
another. These five command dramatic distant views north over the Camel
estuary. The scheduling is divided into eight separate areas of

Taking first the barrow on the south west in the scheduling, at the west
end of the dispersed group, this has a mound of earth and stone roughly
crescent-shaped in plan, being truncated by cultivation to the east. The
mound measures up to 15m across and is reduced by ploughing to a height of
around 0.5m. It is modified on the east to form part of a boundary bank.
There is no evidence for a ditch surrounding the mound.

Moving east towards the highest point of the hill, the second barrow in
this group has an earth and stone mound approximately 20m in diameter and
0.6m high. The profile of the mound is regular, smoothed by ploughing. No
surrounding ditch is recorded.

Further east is the pair of closely set barrows, standing on top of the
hill. Each of these has an earth mound with a rounded profile; neither is
considered to have an external ditch. The southern barrow of the pair has
a diameter of approximately 22m, and is up to 0.9m high. The northern one
is approximately 26m across, and up to 1m high.

The barrow on the east of the summit, the most easterly of the dispersed
group, is approximately 25m across and up to 1.2m high. Its mound rises
with curving sides to a slightly flattened top, and is thought to have no
surrounding ditch.

Of the barrows on the north slope of the hill, the two nearest to the
summit are similar in appearance, each having a mound with no known ditch,
approximately 24m in diameter and 1m high. Both of these mounds are
smoothed by ploughing.

The northernmost barrow in the scheduling is sub-circular in plan and
measures approximately 26m across and 2m high. Its mound contains earth
with small rubble quartz and shillet (local stone), and has a curving
profile with a flat centre to its top, smoothed and trimmed by ploughing.
No external ditch is known.

Lastly, the barrow on the north east shoulder of the hill has a diameter
of approximately 19m. It has an earth and stone mound rising to 1.1m high
with a regular rounded profile, except on the west side where the edge is
reduced. Again, there are no traces of a ditch around the mound.

The modern agricultural implement and fencing are excluded from the
scheduling, although 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

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

Despite modification by ploughing, the nine round barrows 850m north east
of Pennatillie survive well. The underlying old land surfaces, and remains
of any structures or other deposits associated with these and with the
upstanding earthworks, will also survive. The location on the top and
shoulders of a hill, with striking distant views to an estuary,
illustrates well the important role of topography in prehistoric funerary

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Borlase, W C, Naenia Cornubiae, (1872), 243
MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1958)
SW 96 NW 15, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 15, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 16, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 16, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
SW 96 NW 17, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 18, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 19, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 20, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 20, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project
Source Date: 1995

Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1810

Title: Ordnance Survey 1" Map
Source Date: 1810
Date approx
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1880
Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map
Source Date: 1908
Date approx.
Title: St Columb Major Tithe Apportionment
Source Date: 1840

TS in CAU information file, Johnson, ND, Letter to IAM, (1976)

Source: Historic England

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