Home

The Name

Mountain Walks

Fell Walks

Coast Walks

Pilgrim Walks

Other Walks

Narrowboating

Travel

Cornwall

The Barn

River Cruises

 

Ancient Cornwall

You always think of Cornwall as a holiday destination for its coastline, beaches and coves, but there is a "hidden Cornwall" of edifices that are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Not obvious at first sight, and you have to go out of your way to find them, but they are superb examples of Megalithic England.

 

Lanyon Quoit

Situated in largely unpopulated Cornish landscape between Madron and Morvah, Lanyon Quoit dates back to the Neolithic period (3500-2500BC).The original use is somewhat disputed; some believing that it was the burial chamber of a large mound and others contesting that it was never completely covered, but rather used as a mausoleum and the imposing backdrop to ritual ceremoniess. Another theory is that bodies were placed on the capstone to be eaten by carrion birds. Nearby lie a number of small stone burial chambers, knows as cists, with a longstone about 100 yards north-west of the quoit and evidence that there were once a number of neighbouring barrows.

The mammoth capstone, weighing over 13 tonnes and measuring 9 feet by 17 feet, originally sat atop four upright stones until a thunderstorm in 1815 dislodged it. The fall broke one of the supporting stones, hence the diminished stature achieved when re-erected by local public subscription

 

 

Lanyon Quoit

.



 

Mên An Tol

Mên-an-Tol (meaning 'holed stone' in Cornish)is believed to belong to the Bronze Age, thereby making it around 3,500 years old. It consists of four stones, the most memorable being the circular and pierced upright stone. Measuring approximately 1.3 metres across with a large hole at its centre, the Mên-an-Tol has had many a curative and magical power attributed to it. The local name the 'Crick Stone' alludes to its alleged ability to aid those with back pain and children suffering from rickets and tuberculosis were taken to this stretch of moorland near Madron in past years. The holed stone was also believed to aid fertility and its powers were sought by barren women, pregnant women seeking easy childbirth and famers seeking bountiful crops.

 

.

 

 

 

Chûn Quoit

Positioned high on the exposed north coast of Cornwall, Chun Quoit is remarkable for being the only dolmen in the area to have retained its capstone in its original setting for around 5000 years , the four supporting stones (1.5m in height) still forming a box-like chamber. Furthermore, unlike other Penwith quoits, the Chûn capstone (2-3m diameter) is somewhat circular and domed, giving it a mushroom-like shape. The name Chûn is a corruption of the Cornish ‘Chy-an-Woone’ meaning House on the Downs. Similar to other dolmens, it was not built on the crest of the hill but just below, the top being utilised in the Iron Age for the hill fort, Chûn Castle.

 

.

 

 

 

Chûn Castle

Chûn Castle is an impressive Iron Age hill fort on the summit of Chun Downs, near Morvah. Roughly circular, the fort consists of two stone walls, each measuring nearly three meters high and flanked by an external ditch, enclosing the remains of several round houses and one oval house, which may represent a later, post-Roman, phase of occupation. Excavations in the 1920s and 1930s uncovered a significant amount of pottery, which suggests that the main phase of occupation was between the third century BC and the first century AD, with a possible later occupation in the fifth and sixth centuries AD. Given its prominent location and excellent views over the Atlantic, Mount's Bay and the only land route to the Penwith peninsula, it is likely that Chûn Castle had a defensive purpose. It's proximity to the much older Chûn Quoit suggests that the fort may have been built on a much older structure.

 

.

 

 

 

 

King Doniert Stone

Two richly carved pieces of a 9th century 'Celtic' cross, with an inscription commemorating Dungarth, King of Dumnonia in the south-west of Britain

The inscription reads "DONIERT PROGRAVIT PRO ANIMA" whis may be translated as "Doniert Ordered (This Cross) for (The Good Of) His Soul". Doniert is possibly the same as Durngarth King of Cornwall who was drowned about A.D. 875. Crosses were originally set in the mortices on top of this and other shaft. These stones and the land on which they stand were presented to the nation by G.P.N Glencross, M.A. Rundle and L.S. Lang The site was enclosed and laid out at the cost of the Liskeard Old Cornwall Society.

Cornwall, like Ireland and Scotland, lay on the fringe of the Roman world, and there are few signs of Roman influence in the region. The name the Romans used to denote this territory in the south-west was Dumnonia.

Following the collapse of Roman rule at the beginning of the fifth century AD, much of eastern Britain fell under the control of Saxon invaders; however Dumnonia, which included Devon and parts of Somerset as well as Cornwall, remained an independent kingdom for several centuries.

 

 

.

 

 

 

St Cleer's Well

At the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, the sizeable village of St Cleer grew to accommodate workers in the many nearby mines, the remains of which can still be seen dotted around the local landscape in the form of engine houses and chimney stacks. The church is dedicated to St Clarus and, just outside the village, St Cleer’s 15th century Holy Well is alleged to have curative powers.

Formerly a bowsening pool where "mad people" were immersed frequently to try and cure there insanity.

 

 

.

St Cleer

 

 

 

Trehevy Quoit

Trethevy Quoit is a well-preserved megalithic tomb that lies between St Cleer and Darite. It is known locally as "the giant's house" standing 9 feet (2.7 m) high, it consists of five standing stones capped by a large slab and was added to the Heritage At Risk register in 2017.

Like other portal tombs of this type, Trethevy Quoit was originally covered by a mound. The remnants of this suggest a diameter of 6.5 metres. The remaining seven stones and the 3.7 m long and 10.5-ton cover slab were inside the mound. At the upper end of the cover slab is a natural hole, which may have been used for astronomical observation.

 

.

 

 

  Standing Stone - Lanlivery  

.

 

 

St Brevita's Holy Well

Nothing is known about Saint Bryvyth (Brevita), although the parish church in LanliveryCornwall, England, UK, is dedicated to her. There is also a well dedicated to her in woodland just outside the village.

 

.

 

 

Megalithic Standing Stone - St Breock Downs

St Breock Downs Monolith (or St Breock LongstoneCornishMen Gurta) is the largest and heaviest prehistoric standing stone in Cornwall. It stands on the summit of St Breock Downs. The stone is made from the local Devonian shale which has extensive feldspar veining, and it is estimated to weigh around 16.5 tonnes. It is 4.92 metres long and stands to a height of just over 3 metres above ground level. It stands on a low stone mound or cairn with a diameter of around 10 metres. It is believed to be Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (around 2500-1500 BC).


 

.