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Historic England Research Records

King Donierts Stone And Other Half Stone

Hob Uid: 435004
Location :
Cornwall
St. Cleer
Grid Ref : SX2361206884
Summary : The site known as 'King Doniert's Stone' comprising two late 9th century granite cross-shaft fragments and an underground passage and chamber. The fragments stand in an enclosure on the south side of the road from St Cleer to Redgate, and are the only surviving examples of 9th century stone crosses in Cornwall. They overlook the River Fowey, and the site is thought to mark the line of an ancient ridgeway which ran over the moors. The early Chirstian missionaries are thought to have set up wooden crosses in the places where they preached. Over time these sites became sanctified, and stone crosses replaced the wooden ones. The cross shafts are rectangular and situated about a metre apart. The northern cross, termed the 'Doniert Stone' is 1.37 metres high with panels of interlace decoration on three sides and an inscription in lower case cursive script on the east face 'doniert rogavit pro anima'. The inscription is thought to commemorate the local ruler, son of Caraduc, King of Cornwall. Doniert is mentioned in the early Welsh chronicle 'Annales Cambriae', as the king of Dumnonia called Dumgarth (or Dwingarth). He is recorded as having drowned in the sea in about AD 875. The Doniert Stone is one of only two inscribed stones bearing the name of a Cornish king, and the only one featuring a character known also from documentary sources. The in situ southern cross ('Other Half Stone'), is 2.1 metres high with a panel of interlace decoration on the east face. The Doniert Stone was re-erected in 1849 after lying, since about 1685, in an open pit near the foot of the southern stone. The rock-cut chamber beneath the site was found in 1849 and excavated in 1932. It begins as a passage to the south east of the crosses, turns into a tunnel and terminates as a cruciform chamber beneath the crosses. It has been interpreted as Early Iron Age prospective tin mining or a subterranean oratory. The site is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust and in the care of English Heritage.
More information : (SX 23616884) Stone Cross (NR) (remains of)
(SX 23616883) King Doniert's Stone (NR) (1)

The remains of a cross-shaft and cross-base stand close together in an enclosure on the S side of the road from St Cleer to Redgate. The site marks the line of an ancient ridgeway which ran NE over the moors.(2)

"The Other Half Stone" is the larger part of a cross-shaft, still in situ, ornamented and retaining the mortice for a cross head. One face has been split lengthwise to ground level leaving only one face intact. It is dated to the early 9th Cent. (2) (3)

Dimensions: Height from ground level 7' (full height when excavated 10' 6"); width 2'. The "Doniert Stone" is a decorated cross-base named from the inscription on one face in Hiberno Saxon miniscules-"Doniert rogavit pro anima". Doniert has been identified as Durngarth, son of Caraduc, King of Cornwall who was drowned circa AD 873. (2)
(3) (6).

Hencken is sceptical about this connection and does not think that either stone gives positive evidence of a date earlier than the early 10th Cent. Ellis dates the inscription from the style of the lettering. The stone was re-erected (6) in 1849 after lying since circa 1685 (8) in an open pit near the foot of "The Other Half Stone". Dimensions: height 4' 6"; width at bottom 3'; thickness 2'. Doniert Stone under DoE(IAM) Guardianship.
Local tin miners, treasure hunting, had made the hole in which the "Doniert Stone" lay and had by chance broken into an underground apparent cruciform chapel or vault, but in fear had quickly filled it up again. It was found again in 1849 and excavated in 1932. (7) It descended to a deep well 20' below ground level with two small, rough, unfinished side passages. It is thought to be prospective tin mining and Andrew gives it an EIA date from comparison with continental parallels. (2-9)

Hals description of the 17th cent excavation of the rock cut chamber is given with an account of the 1849 opening of the pit. The writer was of the opinion that it was a subterranean oratory,
but notes the views of the labourers who considered it to be an old mine working. (10-11)

No change.
Published survey 1:2500 correct. (12)

Full description of the cross which is stylistically dated to the 9th-11th centries. (13)

These are the only surviving examples of late 9th century crosses in Cornwall and their form is considered to owe bore to the development of the local traditions of memorial stones than to the growth of the more elaborate high crosses in the north. The interlace decoration survives reasonably well on both crosses, however it is the survival of the inscription on one cross which is of particular importance. This is one of only two inscribed stones bearing the name of a Cornish king, and the only one featuring a character known also from documentary sources; thus it assists any historical as well as archaeological study of early medieval Cornwall. (14)

The site known as 'King Doniert's Stone' consists of the remains of two late 9th century granite cross-shaft fragments and an underground passage and chamber. The northern cross, termed the 'Doniert Stone' is 1.37 metres high with panels of interlace decoration on three sides and an inscription in lower case cursive script on the east face 'doniert rogavit pro anima'. The inscription is thought to commemorate the local ruler 'Durngarth' or 'Dwingarth' who is recorded as having drowned in around AD 875. It has a mortise slot and a plinth at the case. The still in-situ southern cross, often referred to as the 'Other Half Stone', is 2.1 metres high with a panel of interlace decoration on the east face, a broken mortise slot at the top and a plinth at the bottom. The underground rock-cut chamber begins as a passage about 8 metres to the south east of the crosses, turns into a tunnel and terminates as a cruciform chamber beneath the crosses. (14)

The cross shafts are of rectangular form and situated about a metre apart on a north-south axis. They are situated on the west side of a small hill overlooking the River Fowey on the edge of Bodmin Moor. (15)

The granite bases of two late 9th century crosses. The crosses themselves were probably wooden and slotted into the sockets on top of the stones. The inscription on the Doniert stone translates as 'Doniert ordered (this cross) for (the good of) his soul' and asks for prayers for the king who drowned during a hunting expedition in 875/6 AD. Dungarth (Duncan in English) is thought to be a descendant of the early 8th century King Gerren, and is said to have held his court in Liskeard (Lis-Cerruyt). (16)

A brief history and description. (17)

Fully described. (18)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dev & Corn N & Q 25 1952-3 177-9 Photos (G E Ellis)
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Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Ib 4 1853 31-4 74
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Source Number : 12
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 09-AUG-74
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Source Number : 13
Source : Corpus of early Christian inscribed stones of south-west Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 213-217
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Source Number : 14
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : CARADON, 20-FEB-1992
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Source Number : 15
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 1:2500, 2008
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Source Number : 16
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : 2003. Stone-Circles.org.uk http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/index.htm [Accessed 29-MAY-2008]
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Source Number : 17
Source : Heritage unlocked: guide to free sites in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
Source details :
Page(s) : 30-31
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Source Number : 18
Source : Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: Vol XI. Early Cornish Sculpture
Source details : St Cleer 2 and 3
Page(s) : 134-39
Figs. :
Plates : 51-9
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Corn Crosses MSS (Baird)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Arch of Corn 1953 268 271 (H O'N Hencken)
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : VCH 1 1906 419 421 Drawing (Langdon)
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Old Corn Crosses 1896 377-9 401-2 Drawings (Langdon)
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : JRIC 24 112-139 (C K C Andrew)
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hist of Corn 46-7 (Hals)
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Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Bldgs of Eng Corn 1951 144 (N Pevsner)
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Trans Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society 3 1849 212-15
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Tin Mine
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Possible use of chamber
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Underground Structure, Chapel
Evidence : Subterranean Feature, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Late C9
Monument End Date : 900
Monument Start Date : 867
Monument Type : Cross, Inscribed Stone, Enclosure, Commemorative Stone
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Victorian
Display Date : Re-erected 1849
Monument End Date : 1849
Monument Start Date : 1849
Monument Type : Cross
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 15001
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CO 25
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cornwall)
External Cross Reference Number : /028
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 274
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 111638
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Cornwall)
External Cross Reference Number : 17270
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1010873
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 26 NW 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, THE OTHER HALF STONE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1849-01-01
End Date : 1849-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, DONIERT STONE AND POSSIBLE TIN MINE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1932-01-01
End Date : 1932-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 26 NW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1974-08-09
End Date : 1974-08-09