HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Halliggye Fogou

Hob Uid: 427400
Location :
Cornwall
Cornwall
Mawgan-In-Meneage
Grid Ref : SW7131523940
Summary : Halliggye Fogou is an Iron Age underground chamber that is believed to have been constructed in around the 4th and 5th century BC and was in use until at least the 2nd century AD. Fogous, from the Cornish word 'ogo' meaning cave, are found only in the far west of Cornwall. Their original function is unclear. They may have been used to store valuables, or as refuges. Fogous could also have been places of ceremony and ritual. Halliggye Fogou is situated within an earthwork enclosing a settlement, possibly a defended Iron Age homestead on the Trelowarren Estate. It lies partly beneath a high plateau bounded by an embankment and runs beneath two enclosures (fields) at different levels. The fogou is a large complex example of its type constructed of drystone walling and capstones. It comprises a north to south orientated 20 metre long stone-lined chamber with a 28 metres long curvilinear passage branching westwards and culminating in a small side chamber. Both are over 2 metres high in places. The present-day entrance was constructed during repair work in 1980 at the south east end of the 20 metre chamber and has modern steps leading down. The chamber ends in a small 'creep' of reduced height, which is divided by a doorway of large stone slabs. This section originally ended in a doorway opening out into a ditch as an alternative entrance. However, this was blocked off at a later date. There was also a 19th century entrance, now blocked, half way along the 28 metre curved passage. Reverend Richard Polwhele recorded the fogou in detail in 1803. In 1861, J. T. Blight wrote a comprehensive description and drafted plans of the fogou in conjunction with Sir Richard Vyvyan (the landowner) who listed finds of a vase containing ashes and a roughly made cup, both of Celtic manufacture, and animal bones possibly from a deer. It was used during the Second World War by the Manaccan Auxiliary Unit as an explosives and ammunition store. It is now in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SW 71322394) Fogou (NR) (1)

The Fogou at Halligey, Trelowarren (see plan) (3) is situated within a partially destroyed fort or defended homestead. "It lies partly beneath a high plateau bounded by an embankment and runs beneath two enclosures (fields) at different levels (2). The roof was complete when visited by E Clarke in 195 but the original entrances were blocked. "A vase containing ashes, and a rude cup - both of Celtic manufacture - have been found in the cave" (4) but since lost. (3) (2-4)

This fogou comprises a north-south 20.0 metre long stone-lined chamber with a 28.0 metre long curvilinear passage branching westwards and culminating in a small side chamber; both are over 2.0 metres high in places.

Very well preserved though the original entrances are blocked by earth falls and entry is now gained by a smal hole on the south side of the passage. Published survey 1:2500. Revised.

Only vestiges of the round survive. The rampart on the north-west side has been destroyed and the ditch infilled; the curving vertical-sided field hedge, 1.6 metres high, now represents the east part of the earthwork with no trace of a ditch. The earthwork is now only a site. Fogou depicted at 1:2500. (5)

The layout of the passages and chambers of the Halliggye Fogou is more elaborate than in any other known Cornish fogou. Repairs were carried out in the 19 century and it still survives in a reasonable condition. Listed (7). (6-7)

Halligye fogou has been taken into Guardianship by the DoE, Directorate of Ancient Monuments. (8)

The fogou is a large complex example of its type constructed of drystone walling and capstones. It is now entirely subterranean and consists of a main, curving passage orientated north-east to south-west, extending south from the south-west end of the curved passage and a straight passage orientated north-south 28 feet long. Two straight sections extend north from this becoming narrower and lower until opening (according to antiquarian sources) into the ditch of a surrounding enclosure. Investigations in 1480-1 revealed evidence of the fogou's construction and alterations. The curved passage was found to be of 2 phases with the `Stumbling Block' a piece of natural rock left unquarried when the passage was extended. The southern-most section of the straight passage was also found to be a later rebuild. The fogou exited to the north at a depth of 6ft below natural ground surface, probably into a ditch. This was back-filled in the Roman period. Little information was recovered to aid the interpretation of its function. There was also a complete lack of deposits relating to its occupation. The structure relates closely to an enclosing earthwork surrounding a settlement and provided an entrance to a site of sufficient importance that it was first modified and later blocked. It is likely the actual entrance/exit within the enclosure was at the southern end of the straight passage. It seems unlikely the fogou was used as a refuge as the straight passage would have been clearly visible within the settlement as a low mound. No dating evidence has yet been found for the construction of the site, it appears to have been modified in the later Iron Age and probably not blocked before the Roman period. (9-10)

The site is included in the text on a distribution map of Iron Age and Roman Sites in Cornwall. (11)

One of the best preserved examples of a Cornish Iron Age fogou situated on the private grounds of Trelowarren estate within an earthwork enclosing a settlement. Access to the fogou is permitted to visitors and it is also featured on a local `Woodland Walk'. Reverand Richard Polwhele recorded the fogou in detail in 1803. In 1861 John Thomas Blight wrote a comprehensive description and drafted plans of the fogou in conjunction with Sir Richard Vyvyan, the landowner who listed finds as a vase containing ashes and a roughly made cup both of Celtic manufacture, and bones possibly from a deer. The monument is currently under the care of English Heritage and in the early 1980s Bill Startin of EH led a series of small excavations mainly to clear debris from the passage to aid examination and repair work. Startins report stated that: 1. Both the fogou and enclosure were originally constructed during 4th and 5th century BC although an extension to the curved passage and the southern creep were added at a later unknown date; 2. The northern entrance from the ditch was modified by increasing the length of the entrance creep and between 75BC and 50AD the southern end of the straight passage was extended by adding a narrow upward sloping passage; 3. The next alteration involved blocking the entrance from the ditch which was enlarged; 4. There was evidence of a break in occupation of the site in the 2nd century AD; 5. The southern passage was robbed of its stone and backfilled probably during the 17th century or later. (12)

The present-day entrance was constructed during repair work in 1980 at the south east end of the 20 metre chamber and has modern steps leading down. The chamber ends in a small 'creep' of reduced height, which is divided by a doorway of large stone slabs. This section originally ended in a doorway opening out into a ditch as an alternative entrance. However this was blocked off at a later date. There was also originally a 19th century entrance, now blocked, half way along the 28 metre curved passage. In the 1980s, a series of small excavations were carried out by English Heritage mainly to clear debris from the passage to aid examination and repair work. Pottery found during excavations has included local Iron Age cordoned wares and some sherds of Roman Samian ware from southern Gaul. During World War II the fogou was used as an ammunition store by the Manaccan Auxiliary Unit. The fogou is now of special importance as a winter hibernation site for Horseshoe bats, a protected species. Access to the fogou is therefore only possible between April and September. (13)

The function of fogou's is unknown but storage chambers, refuges and religious or ritual settings have been suggested. (13-14)

This ancient Iron Age fogue (or underground chamber) was used for a time during WW2 by the Manaccan Auxiliary Unit as an explosives and ammunition store. After a time, the explosives became damp and had to be moved to another location. The fogue is still in excellent condition and is well maintained. The original purpose of these Iron Age fogues is still a subject of controversy amongst archaeologists, but this one did prove useful during WW2. In an ancient fogue [underground stone chamber] in the grounds of Trelowarren Estate. (15)

A brief history and description. (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Cornish fogous
Source details : xiii
Page(s) : 28-34
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 111-134
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1986
Source Number : 12
Source : Mother and sun : the Cornish fogou
Source details : Published 1993. Includes maps, plans and illustrations.
Page(s) : 52-61
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Cornwall County Council. 2007. Cornwall's Archaeological Heritage. http://www.historic-cornwall.org.uk/a2m/iron_age/fogou/halligye/halliggye.htm [Accessed 23-MAY-2008]
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : English Heritage Members' and Visitors' handbook 2008/9
Source details :
Page(s) : 102
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 15
Source : Migrated Defence of Britain Project database record originally compiled from various sources
Source details : The two databases developed by the Project can be searched on-line through the Archaeology Data Service at http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/specColl/dob/index.cfm
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Heritage unlocked: guide to free sites in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Source details :
Page(s) : 26-27
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : SW 72 SW 1(Halligye Fogou) (1972)
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details : Hencken H O
Page(s) : 145-47
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1932
Source Number : 4
Source : Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall
Source details :
Page(s) : 258
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1883-5
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 21-JUL-72
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : University College London Institute of Archaeology bulletin
Source details : Institute of Archaelogical Bulletins
Page(s) : 191-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 78
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5, 1966
Source Number : 8
Source : Council for British Archaeology: [Annual] report
Source details :
Page(s) : 13
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1979
Source Number : 9
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 219-20
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1981
Source Number : 10
Source : Cornish archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 185-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1982

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age dating from the 5th Century
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -600
Monument Type : Round, Fogou
Evidence : Earthwork, Subterranean Feature, Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : In use until the 2nd Century AD
Monument End Date : 200
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Round
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Second World War use
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1939
Monument Type : Auxiliary Unit Bomb Store, Bomb Store
Evidence : Subterranean Feature

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Round, Fogou
Object Type : BURIAL URN, CUP, ANIMAL REMAINS
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CO 387
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cornwall)
External Cross Reference Number : /036
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 15414
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 266
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : ViewFinder
External Cross Reference Number : BB026234
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : DoB Non Anti Invasion Database UID
External Cross Reference Number : S0012257
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cornwall)
External Cross Reference Number : 24693
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Register of Parks and Gardens Legacy No.
External Cross Reference Number : 2321
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SW 72 SW 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : FIELD OBSERVATION ON SW 72 SW 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1972-07-21
End Date : 1972-07-21
Associated Activities : HALLIGGYE FOGOU
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1980-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : HALLIGGYE FOGOU
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1991-12-31
Associated Activities : HALLIGGYE FOGOU
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2004-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31