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Trencrom Hill in West Penwith, Cornwall was recorded as ‘Torcrobm’ in 1758 from the Cornish ‘tor crom’ (in later Cornish ‘crobm’ because as in all other languages, evolution of a tongue occurs) meaning ‘hunched bulge’ with tor meaning quite literally ‘belly’. Learn more about the Cornish language, Kernewek here.

Finds of Neolithic axes on the slopes of the hill indicate that the hilltop was occupied during that era and it may be that the massive wall surrounding the flattish summit originated then, to be reused and strengthened during the Iron Age. This wall is up to 2.5 metres high on its external side and makes full use of the many natural granite outcrops. The fort is roughly pear-shaped in plan, 137 metres by 91 metres and there is a pair of fine entrances facing east and west with granite gate jambs. Trencrom provides superb coastal views; to the Northeast across the Hayle estuary and up to Godrevy Point, and to the South across Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount.

A number of circular features can be traced in the interior. Three are Bronze Age cairns and there are six round house platforms in the southern part of the enclosure. Other circular features are prospecting pits. Finds of pottery show Iron Age occupation from the 3rd century BC and that the site was well used well into the post-Roman period perhaps as late as the 8th or 9th century AD.

In folklore, the hill was the lair of Trecobben the giant. Trecobben is best remembered as the friend of Cormoran, who lived on St Michael’s Mount, and whose wife Cormelian he accidentally killed. Another legend speaks of games that they played, throwing rocks across to each other – the Bowl Rock at the northern base on Trencrom being one such rock that missed its target and rolled away.  

Various attempts at tin mining have taken place on/under the hill, known as the Wheal Cherry sett, between the mid-1800s and early 1900s. None were particularly successful.

The hill was presented to the National Trust by Lt Col C L Tyringham, of Trevethoe in March 1946, his wish being that it was to be regarded as a memorial to the men and women of Cornwall, who gave their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars, 1914 – 1918, 1939 – 1945. A plaque on the hill commemorates this fact.

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.

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