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HER Number:36098
Name:ZENNOR QUOIT - Neolithic chambered tomb


Zennor Quoit, a very large chambered tomb, originally set within a low mound.

Grid Reference:SW 4687 3801
Parish:Zennor, Penwith, Cornwall
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument CO33: The Zennor Quoit

Other References/Statuses

  • Cornwall SURVEY NAME (temporary): NT NO: 94100
  • OS No. (OS Quarter-sheet and OS No.): SW43NE 42
  • Primary Record No. (1985-2009): 36098
  • SMR No. (OS Quarter-sheet and SMR No.): SW43NE 101.1

Monument Type(s):

Full description

W Borlase refers to Zennor Quoit as "a very large handsome cromlech". He drew and planned the site in the mid-C18 when the capstone was roughly horizontal and the chamber was set into a low stony mound approx 12.8m in diameter. By the middle of the C19, when it was described by WC Borlase, the capstone had slipped and the western upright supporting it had snapped (b2). It was planned and drawn in great detail by Lukis (1885) when the northern of the two façade slabs (at the chamber's eastern end) had been reduced in height by the splitting off of a post in 1861 (b14). The most useful references are Wailes (1957) and Barnatt (1982). The latter includes an accurate modern large scale plan.
As it survives today the site comprises two chambers set into a low stony mound. The main chamber is trapezoidal with its long axis running 75 degrees to the NNE. The western end is 0.83m wide, the eastern end is 1.9m wide; the total length being 3.16m. The capstone is 5.33m by 2.9m and weighs about 9.45 tonnes. An antechamber was formed at the eastern end by two impressive portal stones.
No modern excavations have been carried out but several informal diggings were summarised by Thomas and Wailes in 1967 (b10). A pot was found by a local man in the C19. Grenfell and his son dynamited their way in, in 1881 and recovered a whetstone or perforated hone which found its way to Penlee Museum in Penzance (b10). Thomas and Wailes compared the hone with others from Penwith to suggest a Bronze Age date. In 1910 R J Noall of St Ives dug in the main chamber and found eighteen flints, one a scraper, one calcined, some charcoal, some cremated bones (presumably human) and sherds from two small pots. His finds are now in the County Museum in Truro (b10). Mr Hazeldine-Warren found sherds of well fired cord-impressed ware in rabbit holes immediately outside the entrance to the ante chamber soon after WW1. They were drawn by Patchett (b8).
Hencken in 1932 claimed that the mound was still traceable (b7). The OS in 1961 believed the surface to have been "scoured for nearby walls" leaving no surveyable remains of the covering cairn. Barnatt in 1982 notes only slight hummocky ground as the remains of a mound. His plan shows how the mound has been broken into small fragments (h3, b14).
The site is a Scheduled Monument.

Site history:
1: 1961. QUINNELL, NV / OS
2: 1975. FLETCHER, MJ / OS

Jackson, M. & Jackson, A., 2006, Ancient Stones of Kernow (Booklet). SCO27463.

<1> Borlase, W, 1754, Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, 227, 231, PL 223 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2878.

<2> Borlase, WC, 1872, Naenia Cornubiae, 51-55 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2892.

<3> Lukis, WC & Borlase, WC, 1885, Prehistoric Stone Monuments: Cornwall, 10, 28, PL 21, 22 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3881.

<4> Matthews, JH, 1892, History of the Parishes of St Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor, 17-19 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3914.

<5> Blight, JT, 1870, The Cromlechs of Cornwall, 73-87 (Unpublished document). SCO2870.

<6> Page, W (Editor), 1906, Victoria History of the County of Cornwall, 364-365, 374 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4068.

<7> Hencken, HO, 1932, The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly, 45-47, 49, 310, 319 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3489.

<8> Patchett, FM, 1946, Cornish Bronze Age Pottery, Part I, VOL 101, 21-22 (Article in serial). SCO4087.

<9> Patchett, FM, 1952, Cornish Bronze Age Pottery, Part II, VOL 107, 44 (Article in serial). SCO4088.

<10> Wailes, B, 1957, The Bronze Age in Cornwall, VOL II, 2, 16, 44 (Bibliographic reference). SCO5002.

<11> Fox, A, 1964, South West England, 47-49, 79, 233, PL 15 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3332.

<12> Thomas, AC, 1967, Sperris and Zennor Quoits, VOL 6, 15-23 (Article in serial). SCO4633.

<13> Russell, V, 1971, West Penwith Survey, 25 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4314.

<14> Barnatt, J, 1982, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, 119-121 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2777.

<15> Herring, PC, 1987, Carne, Zennor. An Archaeological Survey, 23-26 (Cornwall Event Report). SCO3571.

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. 227, 231, PL 223.
[2]SCO2892 - Bibliographic reference: Borlase, WC. 1872. Naenia Cornubiae. 51-55.
[3]SCO3881 - Bibliographic reference: Lukis, WC & Borlase, WC. 1885. Prehistoric Stone Monuments: Cornwall. 10, 28, PL 21, 22.
[4]SCO3914 - Bibliographic reference: Matthews, JH. 1892. History of the Parishes of St Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor. 17-19.
[5]SCO2870 - Unpublished document: Blight, JT. 1870. The Cromlechs of Cornwall. MS At Morrab Library. 73-87.
[6]SCO4068 - Bibliographic reference: Page, W (Editor). 1906. Victoria History of the County of Cornwall. Page, W. 364-365, 374.
[7]SCO3489 - Bibliographic reference: Hencken, HO. 1932. The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly. 45-47, 49, 310, 319.
[8]SCO4087 - Article in serial: Patchett, FM. 1946. Cornish Bronze Age Pottery, Part I. Archaeological Journal, Vol 101. VOL 101, 21-22.
[9]SCO4088 - Article in serial: Patchett, FM. 1952. Cornish Bronze Age Pottery, Part II. Archaeological Journal, Vol 107. VOL 107, 44.
[10]SCO5002 - Bibliographic reference: Wailes, B. 1957. The Bronze Age in Cornwall. VOL II, 2, 16, 44.
[11]SCO3332 - Bibliographic reference: Fox, A. 1964. South West England. 47-49, 79, 233, PL 15.
[12]SCO4633 - Article in serial: Thomas, AC. 1967. Sperris and Zennor Quoits. CA No 6. VOL 6, 15-23.
[13]SCO4314 - Bibliographic reference: Russell, V. 1971. West Penwith Survey. 25.
[14]SCO2777 - Bibliographic reference: Barnatt, J. 1982. Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments. 119-121.
[15]SCO3571 - Cornwall Event Report: Herring, PC. 1987. Carne, Zennor. An Archaeological Survey. 23-26.

Associated Finds

  • FCO925 - HUMAN REMAINS (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2501 BC)
  • FCO5330 - PLANT REMAINS (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2501 BC)
  • FCO2278 - SCRAPER (TOOL) (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2501 BC)
  • FCO599 - SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2501 BC)

Associated Events: none recorded

Related records: none recorded