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HER Number:29247
Name:CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hillfort


A bivallate hillfort containing a number of possible hut circles but much damaged by costeaning pits.

Grid Reference:SW 5994 3003
Parish:Breage, Kerrier, Cornwall
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument CO1073: Castle Pencaire hillfort, two rounds and a field system, Tregonning Hill
  • Conservation Area: TREGONNING HILL

Other References/Statuses

  • Heritage at Risk (National): HE, South West, 2010
  • National Mapping Programme (Morph No.): 1047.22
  • OS No. (OS Quarter-sheet and OS No.): SW53SE 8
  • Primary Record No. (1985-2009): 29247
  • SMR No. (OS Quarter-sheet and SMR No.): SW53SE 57-31

Monument Types

Full description

Castle Pencaire is marked as a 'settlement' on current OS maps. The site is recorded by Leland, in 1540 who says "Cair Kenin, alias Gonyn and Conin, stood in the hill of Pencair there yet apperith two ditches". Thomas, writing in 1853, describes it as an ancient fort situated in the north-west part of Tregonning Hill, on top of the hill, elliptical, with a single ditch and bank inside and outside of the ditch, diameter of interior 88.5m by 64.02m (b3). Polsue notes two ramps and ditches. First rampart of earth stands 3.67m high, the second is 4.58m high and of earth and stone, externally rubble faced. The outer ditch is shallow, the inner ditch is 5.5m wide (b5).

Henderson recorded a diameter of 106.6m east-west and north-south 91.4m. The outer rampart being well defined on north and south where the ground was more level up to 3.06m high with entrances on the east and west. The interior of the enclosure is filled with hut circles and quarry pits, the hut circles measuring 2.44m diameter. A stone hedge divides the enclosure between Breage and Germoe parishes. The entrance is 1.83m wide and 7.34m long (b8). Survey by the OS revealed that this is a bivallate hillfort (h1).

Recent field visits indicate Castle Pencair is very overgrown (h2) and is much damaged by costeaning pits.

A circular stone wall next to the monument on the summit may be a feature (h3).

The hillfort of Castle Pencaire was plotted from aerial photographs (p2, p3) during the Cornwall NMP. A number of possible hut circles were identified within the enclosure and are recorded separately (29247.2 to 29247.7).

The monument is included in the Schedule.

Site history:
h1: 1971. OS
h2: 1976. SHEPPARD, PA / DOE
h3: 1979. SHEPPARD, PA / DOE
h4: 1981. SHEPPARD, PA / DOE
h5: 1986. WESTON, SM / HBMC

Lysons, D & S, 1814, Magna Britannia, VOL III, CORNWALL, CCXLIX (Bibliographic reference). SCO3885.

CAU, 1985, F5 (Photographic Record). SCO16943.

Hitchins, F & Drew, S (Eds), 1824, The History of Cornwall, VOL 2, 108-109 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3595.

CAU, 1987, F12/128 and 131 (Photographic Record). SCO17074.

Thomas, R, 1851, Letters to the West Briton, NO 34 (Article in newspaper). SCO4699.

NMR, 1979, 1457/127-8 (SW5930/3/127-8) (Photographic Record). SCO16394.

UNKNOWN, 1863, UNKNOWN TITLE, 45 (Unedited Source). SCO6171.

Polsue, J (Editor), 1867-72, Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall, VOL 1, 136 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4139.

RUNDLE, S, 1888, Journal of the Royal Institute of Cornwall, VOL IX, 360 (Article in serial). SCO6472.

Henderson, C, 1915, Topography of Cornwall, VOL II, 11 (Unpublished document). SCO3513.

Henderson, C, 1914, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, VOL II, 224 (Unpublished document). SCO3503.

Page, W (Editor), 1906, Victoria History of the County of Cornwall, VOL I, 460 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4068.

Hencken, HO, 1932, The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly, 142-143, 216, 297 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3489.

<11> Cornwall Council, 2017, Distinctiveness Assessment and Evaluation (Report). SCO27790.

Sources / Further Reading

[p1]SCO16943 - Photographic Record: CAU. 1985. F5.
[b1]SCO3885 - Bibliographic reference: Lysons, D & S. 1814. Magna Britannia. VOL III, CORNWALL, CCXLIX.
[p2]SCO17074 - Photographic Record: CAU. 1987. F12/128 and 131. ABP.
[b2]SCO3595 - Bibliographic reference: Hitchins, F & Drew, S (Eds). 1824. The History of Cornwall. VOL 2, 108-109.
[p3]SCO16394 - Photographic Record: NMR. 1979. 1457/127-8 (SW5930/3/127-8). ABP.
[b3]SCO4699 - Article in newspaper: Thomas, R. 1851. Letters to the West Briton. At CSL, Redruth. NO 34.
[b4]SCO6171 - Unedited Source: UNKNOWN. 1863. UNKNOWN TITLE. RRIC. 45.
[b5]SCO4139 - Bibliographic reference: Polsue, J (Editor). 1867-72. Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall. VOL 1, 136.
[b6]SCO6472 - Article in serial: RUNDLE, S. 1888. Journal of the Royal Institute of Cornwall. JRIC. VOL IX, 360.
[b7]SCO3513 - Unpublished document: Henderson, C. 1915. Topography of Cornwall. MS At RIC. VOL II, 11.
[b8]SCO3503 - Unpublished document: Henderson, C. 1914. Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities. MS At RIC. VOL II, 224.
[b9]SCO4068 - Bibliographic reference: Page, W (Editor). 1906. Victoria History of the County of Cornwall. Page, W. VOL I, 460.
[b10]SCO3489 - Bibliographic reference: Hencken, HO. 1932. The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly. 142-143, 216, 297.
[11]SCO27790 - Report: Cornwall Council. 2017. Distinctiveness Assessment and Evaluation. Devon and Cornwall.

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Related records

29247.40Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age enclosure (Monument)
29247.10Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)
29247.20Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)
29247.30Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)
29247.50Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)
29247.60Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)
29247.70Parent of: CASTLE PENCAIRE - Iron Age hut circle (Monument)


No image caption available  © Emma Trevarthen@Historic Environment, Cornwall Council

No image caption available © Emma Trevarthen@Historic Environment, Cornwall Council