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Another video from our tour of Cornish antiquities shows the Ballowall Barrow, also known as Carn Gluze (or Gloose), near St. Just in Penwith. This funerary cairn was used in several phases from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

The site was excavated by Borlase in the 1800’s at which time the site was remodeled to ‘improve’ access to the inner chambers. Prior to this, the site had been largely hidden beneath mining rubble, which aided in its preservation.

Watch this space for more videos to come. Previous videos in the series can be found here.

Our latest video from a tour of Cornish antiquities shows Zennor Quoit, famously saved from demolition in 1861, by William Borlase (a great grandson of Dr. William Borlase and vicar at Zennor). A local farmer proposed to convert the monument into a cattle–shed, but the Reverend intervened and successfully offered a financial incentive of five shillings to the farmer to build it elsewhere. The farmer had already built stone posts on the site ready to erect it, and these can still be seen today.

Watch this space for more videos to come. Previous videos in the series can be found here.

Carn Brea, near Redruth in Cornwall is an important Neolithic Tor Enclosure site. Word has just reached us that the area at the north base of the tor is under threat of development (shades of Old Oswestry here?). The intended use of the land is for a major BMX park and racetrack, a much-needed facility for the local youths. The right idea, in the wrong place! Below is a message from a local campaign group trying to get the development re-sited.

A message from Friends of Carn Brea Meadow

As you may or may not know there is a planning application currently filed with Cornwall Council to develop part of the land at the base of Carn Brea. You can see the application here – https://goo.gl/9g3Hny

Take a look at the two photos below.

Photo 1 shows Carn Brea, according to Historic England a “Neolithic hilltop enclosure with a later settlement and defensive structures, a prehistoric field system, a medieval castle and deer park”. You will notice the green fields flanking the hill – well these vital flood areas (most of which are classed as a conservation area) are in danger – BIG DANGER.

Photo 2 shows the same view but highlights two areas. The area marked in Red is hoping to be developed in the planning application. A local professional who was invited by Cornwall Council to assess the planning application said in their findings “Approval of this application might set a precedent for further encroachment of the land around Carn Brea.” – such as that marked in Blue.

This has caused a big storm in the area; the proposed development is for a BMX racing facility. The Friends of Carn Brea Meadow (consisting of families, working local people and retirees) have nothing against Cornwall having such a facility but they cannot support an application to develop over 8 acres of beautiful land.

Did you know the proposed development would see the destruction of over 140 perfectly healthy trees – trees that were planted by the local community over 20 years ago as a part of a publicly backed community initiate?

But we’re not alone – over 2000 objectors have signed this online petition – https://bit.ly/2n15jBr saying they agree that this land should not be developed.

Wait, there’s more.

Did you know this current land is free to access (YES that’s right, you can go there with you families, just like many locals do, for FREE) and the area in Red has matured over the years to become a beautiful natural meadow – it even has orchids growing in it. Not supermarket potted orchids – real naturally growing ones. Go and take your children there and show them.

But we need your help to protect this area.

The racetrack wants to use BIG LIGHTS so it can operate for up to 12 hours a day all year round (weather dependent).

It wants to use a TANNOY SYSTEM so race commentary can be heard by the masses.

It wants PARKING FOR UPTO 200 CARS.

It wants to WIDEN PARTS OF THE GREAT FLAT LODE (a Heritage Mining Trail) SO CARS CAN DRIVE DOWN IT.

None of the Friends of Carn Brea Meadow are against Cornwall having a BMX racetrack locally but cannot support the development of land that –

– Falls within a conservation area.
– Is an area of Great Landscape Value
– Is a World Heritage Site.
– Is next to one of Cornwall’s largest UNESCO World Heritage assets.
– Is listed as partly in county wildlife site area.
– Is listed as an early medieval site.

All definitions and points above were taken from Cornwall Council’s online public mapping information. https://map.cornwall.gov.uk/ website/ccmap/…

So how can you help us save this land?

It’s simple, just follow these easy steps, but you’ll need to hurry –

  1. Share this post.
  2. Go to https://goo.gl/9g3Hny by the 9th of August and submit an objection – this is your only formal way to voice your objections in time to Cornwall Council.
  3. Sign the public objection petition – https://bit.ly/2n15jBr
  4. Sign the public petition for a detailed ecological study of the site to be conducted – https://bit.ly/2OHtKjH

Thank you, let’s try and save Carn Brea and the surrounding land from development as once it’s gone – there’s no getting it back.

All of the information used in this post was sourced from Cornwall Council, the submitted planning application documents, and Historic England.

Kernow bys vyken!

by Alan S

We last featured the stone circle on Stannon Moor here about 9 years ago! So a revisit was long overdue. Especially as I’d heard of a 4-stone ‘setting’ close to the circle that I’d not noticed on my last visit. I arranged to meet up once again with Dr. Sandy Gerrard along with Gordon and Janet from ACE Archaeology Club in Devon for a return visit to the circle and environs.

The stone setting is enigmatic, consisting of two pairs of stones, roughly aligned to the south-east with Stannon Moor and Louden Hill stone circles (although the circles are not intervisible). The setting is a staggered linear arrangement of four small end-set granite slabs.

The stone setting, with Stannon circle on the horizon

The northern two slabs of the setting are 1.25m apart on a north-south axis, the greater width of each of these northern slabs is set transversely to the axis of the pair. The southern two slabs are 2m apart on a NNW-SSE axis, with their northern slab 1.8m south-west of the southern slab in the northern pair. The southern two slabs are smaller than those to the north, with their greatest width roughly in line with the axis of the pair.

Taking a look around, we espied a small stone on the horizon to the south, which appeared to be in direct alignment with the two southern stones. Without the recent dry weather, I doubt we would have spotted this stone from the setting.

The southern stones of the setting, with the horizon stone arrowed.

Leaving a ranging pole as a guide we walked south where further stones, 10 or 11 in total, also appeared to line up, for a distance of around 150m. Did we have a row?

The southernmost stone appeared to have the attributes of a ‘blocking’ stone, a common feature of Neolithic stone rows. Looking roughly north-east, the blocking stone lined up with a large moorstone to point directly at the notch on Rough Tor – was this our first landscape treat? Is it an astronomical alignment?

View from the southern blocking stone toward Rough Tor.

Walking up and down the row, several other treats and tricks immediately became apparent:

  • From the north walking south, Brown Willy appears on the south-east horizon as soon as the stone setting is left behind, a view which grows the further south you travel.
  • Around 2/3rds along the row, Alex Tor to the south-west dips below the horizon, disappearing from view.
  • Walking north, there are three ‘sea triangles’ to be seen to the west, which disappear one by one as you move north.
  • From the southern blocking stone, the viewer appears to be in the centre of a landscape bowl, an omphalos moment perhaps?

This row, if that is what it is – and all the signs point that way – is not currently listed on the HER, but once the survey notes have been analysed, with field notes and measurements properly written up on our sister site: The Stone Rows of Great Britain we shall almost certainly be taking steps to ensure it is included.

Many thanks to Sandy, Gordon, and Janet for an interesting day out on the moors!

By Alan S.

Another stop on our video tour of Cornish antiquities sees us climb up onto Chun Downs to visit the Neolithic burial cairn of Chun Quoit.

Wath this space for more videos to come. Previous videos in the series can be found here.

By Alan S

I recently had the pleasure of accompanying Dr. Sandy Gerrard on a field trip to visit two possible stone rows in West Penwith, Cornwall. Below is a short report of our visit.

The first row visited was Treveglos at Zennor. This purported row consists of three uprights.

Having scoped out the site a couple of weeks previously, the row was found easily enough, due to the large stone at the SE end of the row acting as a gatepost, above the level of the surrounding fields.

The other two upright stones were on field boundaries heading to the NW in adjoining fields and were easy enough to spot. A recumbent stone was also found in the field near to the gatepost, looking as if it had fallen to the west from a position just slightly out of alignment with the other three. However, the area has many earth-fast stones, and this alignment could well be a co-incidence.

Sadly, upon closer inspection it appears that the NW-most stone is erected upon an Iron Age field boundary, the middle stone bears characteristic tare and feather drill marks suggesting that it must have been erected sometime after 1800AD, and is erected upon what seems to be medieval field boundary. The large stone to the SE has been drilled for use as a gatepost, but given its height may well have Neolithic origins as a standing stone.

We then moved on to the holed stones on Kenidjack Common, near the Tregeseal stone circle. I was last here a couple of years ago and reported on them then.

Sandy confessed that they resembled nothing he’d seen on any other row, and was quite nonplussed. The fact that all of the stones are set at differing angles to the line of the ‘row’, and that none of the holes in the stones are targeted at anything specific only added to his confusion. The outlier appears to be set upon a bank – either a field boundary or possible dried-up watercourse.

This particular row requires further investigation, the Rev. J Buller having described them thusly in 1842:

Each has a hole perforated through its centre of about six inches in diameter. The edges of the holes are rounded as if they had been intended, and had been used, for a rope to pass through ; and had they lain near a sea beach it might reasonably have been concluded that their use was to moor a boat. They lie in a straight line nearly E. and W. There is a space of about twelve feet between the two western most, thirty three feet between the two centre stones, and nine feet between the two eastern ones, by which also it will be seen that one of the two last is broken in half, and the violence which effected it probably caused it to be removed three feet further towards the east. Originally there was in all probability a space of twelve feet between those at each end, and thirty feet between the two centre stones. They are from five to six feet long, four feet wide, and about one foot thick…

The spacing of the stones has been changed in the intervening years, and doubtless their orientation has also changed. Given this fact, it is unlikely that a definitive interpretation will ever be obtained.

The conclusion on the day was that neither row is likely to be Neolithic in origin, but Sandy will publish the full results of his analysis on his Stone Rows website in due course.

By Alan S.

Our video tour continues with the remaining circle at Tregeseal, in the shadow of Carn Kenidjack, the ‘Hooting Carn’.

Look for more videos in this series in the coming weeks.

Easter has been and gone, and in timeworn tradition, Cornwall is now ‘open for business’ to tourists once again. The ancient village of Chysaucester was open for the season again from the weekend, and I took a quick run down to see what was going on.

The atrocious weather we have been having meant that visitors to the site were being warned to take extra care as there is a lot of surface water on the slopes of the village at the moment and some areas are very muddy indeed.

My first stop after the entrance booth was to the education hut, where a ‘Living History’ exhibition was put on by local re-enactors. Wool was being spun, clay was available for children to have a go at modelling their on pots, various tools and implements were on view and I met Jasper ‘the Iron Age dog’ – who was very friendly and well behaved! The group have a Facebook page Dark Age Cornwall to discuss what everyday life may have been like for inhabitants of villages like that at Chysaucester.

Moving on up to the main street, I noticed a new wooden intrusion poking over a wall at the top of the hill, which wasn’t there on my last visit.

Over the winter English Heritage have built an observation deck to give an elevated view, principally over House 6, but from where the rest of the village can also be seen. Hopefully it is incomplete – a dark green woodstain would help it to blend into the background and be less intrusive.

The site was quite busy with visitors, but as can be seen from the wideangle shot below of House 4, the ground water was quite bad, so I didn’t stay long in order to minimise my footfall.

On the way back down the hill, I stopped at the fogou, and the effects of the winter could plainly be seen as daylight is now showing through where the ‘filling’ that was used to block the fogou (for Health and Safety reasons some years ago) has been washed away by the rain.

Chysaucester fogou, taken through the railings and showing the clear erosion at the back

When told about the erosion, the site custodian said that the area will be fenced off shortly to avoid people trying to get into the fogou via the back entrance. Only time will tell as to whether English Heritage will do the right thing and excavate/open up the fogou, or if they will decide to refill it again.

By Alan S.

Moving on, the iconic Lanyon Quoit is an ‘Image of Cornwall’ that many people outside of the Duchy will immediately recognise.

The quoit fell in the early 1800’s and was restored in 1824. Before the restoration, it was said a man on horseback could ride beneath the capstone. This is no longer the case, as you can see.

Look for more videos in this series in the coming weeks.

By Alan S.

For our next look at the ancient sites of West Penwith we visit the (reconstructed) Merry Maidens circle, near Lamorna.

Other sites nearby include the Pipers, Gun Rith and Boscawen Ros standing stones.

Look for more videos in this series in the coming weeks.

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