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HER Number:36067
Name:SPERRIS QUOIT - Neolithic chambered tomb, Neolithic findspot, Bronze Age findspot, Bronze Age chambered tomb

Summary

The remains of Sperris Quoit chambered tomb.

Grid Reference:SW 4709 3825
Parish:Zennor, Penwith, Cornwall
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument CO718: Portal dolmen called Sperris Quoit

Other References/Statuses

  • Cornwall PROJECT ID: WP
  • Cornwall SURVEY NAME (temporary): NT NO: 94300
  • Heritage at Risk (National)
  • OS No. (OS Quarter-sheet and OS No.): SW43NE 22
  • Primary Record No. (1985-2009): 36067
  • SMR No. (OS Quarter-sheet and SMR No.): SW43NE 99

Monument Type(s):

Full description

Lying high on the upper moorland area of Tregerthen tenement are the poor remains of Sperris Quoit (b10). The site was first described by William Borlase in the C18 (b1, b2, b3, h1). At that time it was described as a fine monument with a large capstone supported by five orthosats. In the 1920s Henderson sketch surveyed the site which by this time had suffered much damage, the capstone having disappeared (b4, h2). Its poor and overgrown condition prohibited Hirst from even relocating the site in the 1930s (h3, b11). The site was partially excavated by Thomas and Wailes in 1954 in an attempt to provide secure dating material from a West Penwith chambered tomb (h4, b5). The excavation revealed that the site had suffered much post occupational disturbance mainly as the result of moorstone quarrying in the locality. The interior of the monument was easily disturbed but under the confused tumble of displaced stone, a cairn was discovered. The most promising feature was however a small cremation pit which was located on the periphery of the site and was shown to be dedicatory in character (b5, b7). The pit contained charcoal and some cremated bone and the feature was stratigraphically shown to be earlier than the construction of the chambered tomb itself. Four sherds of friable pottery of coarse ware of a Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date were also recovered from the general area of the site (b5). Also found were 14 pieces of flint - mainly wasters - and a small slate plaque of indeterminate purpose (b5). No secure traces of a chamber were found (b5). Despite the poor condition of the monument Barnatt suggested that the original chamber size at Sperris may have been around 2.3m by 1.5m giving an estimated floor area of 3.2 square metres. He also suggested that the height of the original chamber was that of the tallest remaining single orthostat, being 1.58m (b8). This would have made it one of the smallest examples of a chambered tomb in West Penwith (b8). The OS surveyed the site at 1:2500 in 1975 (h5) and it was re-surveyed by the National Trust in 1984 at 1:1000 (h6, b9, b10). The National Trust survey reconfirmed the poor state of preservation of the Scheduled Monument which is now overgrown (b11). The 1950s excavation did not backfill the site and the original excavation outlines can still be seen (b11).

--------------------------------
Site history:
1: 1754. BORALASE, W
2: 1920. HENDERSON, C
3: 193-. HIRST, FC
5: 1975. UNKNOWN / OS
6: 1984. HERRING, PC / NT
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Jackson, M. & Jackson, A., 2006, Ancient Stones of Kernow (Booklet). SCO27463.

<1> Borlase, W, 1754, Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, 218 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2878.

<2> Borlase, W, 1754, Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, 22 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2878.

<3> Borlase, W, 1740, Parochial Memoranda, 12 (Unpublished document). SCO2884.

<4> Henderson, C, 1914, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, VOL I, 109-110, PLS 106-107 (Unpublished document). SCO3503.

<5> Thomas, AC & Wailes, B, 1967, Sperris Quoit, VOL 6, 9-23 (Article in serial). SCO4642.

<5> Thomas, C & Wailes, B, 1967, Sperris Quoit: the excavation of a new Penwith Chamber Tomb - with a re-consideration of the evidence from Zennor Quoit (Cornish Archaeology No 6, 1967) (Article in serial). SCO2410.

<6> Russell, V, 1971, West Penwith Survey (Bibliographic reference). SCO4314.

<7> Fox, A, 1964, South West England, 55 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3332.

<8> Barnatt, J, 1982, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, 243 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2777.

<9> Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 198-, Field Drawing (GRE), GRE 20 (Cartographic materials). SCO5089.

<10> Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 198-, Drawing Archive, Hanging (GRH), GRH 68/3/SW4738SW (Cartographic materials). SCO5088.

<11> Nowakowski, JA & Herring, PC, 1987, Tregerthen Farm, Nt West Penwith Archaeolgical Survey, 40-42 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4026.

Sources / Further Reading

---SCO27463 - Booklet: Jackson, M. & Jackson, A.. 2006. Ancient Stones of Kernow.
[1]SCO2878 - Bibliographic reference: Borlase, W. 1754. Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall. 218.
[2]SCO2878 - Bibliographic reference: Borlase, W. 1754. Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall. 22.
[3]SCO2884 - Unpublished document: Borlase, W. 1740. Parochial Memoranda. MS At RIC. 12.
[4]SCO3503 - Unpublished document: Henderson, C. 1914. Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities. MS At RIC. VOL I, 109-110, PLS 106-107.
[5]SCO2410 - Article in serial: Thomas, C & Wailes, B. 1967. Sperris Quoit: the excavation of a new Penwith Chamber Tomb - with a re-consideration of the evidence from Zennor Quoit (Cornish Archaeology No 6, 1967).
[5]SCO4642 - Article in serial: Thomas, AC & Wailes, B. 1967. Sperris Quoit. CA No 6. VOL 6, 9-23.
[6]SCO4314 - Bibliographic reference: Russell, V. 1971. West Penwith Survey.
[7]SCO3332 - Bibliographic reference: Fox, A. 1964. South West England. 55.
[8]SCO2777 - Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 1982. Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments. 243.
[9]SCO5089 - Cartographic materials: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 198-. Field Drawing (GRE). GRE 20.
[10]SCO5088 - Cartographic materials: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 198-. Drawing Archive, Hanging (GRH). GRH 68/3/SW4738SW.
[11]SCO4026 - Bibliographic reference: Nowakowski, JA & Herring, PC. 1987. Tregerthen Farm, Nt West Penwith Archaeolgical Survey. At CAU. 40-42.

Associated Finds

  • FCO3044 - CREMATION (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 801 BC)
  • FCO3837 - PLAQUE (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 801 BC)
  • FCO3043 - SHERD (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 801 BC)
  • FCO3836 - WASTE (Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 801 BC)

Associated Events

  • ECO1276 - Sperris Quoit

Related records: none recorded