Reasons for Designation
Fogous are underground passages up to 30m long and 2m wide, usually with side passages and/or chambers. The passages' drystone walls were initially built in a trench, roofed with flat slabs, and covered by earth. Fogous date to the Iron Age and continued in use into the Roman period although there is little evidence for the initial construction of any after the end of the Iron Age. Approximately 12 fogous are known to have surviving remains, their national distribution being restricted to the far west of Cornwall, in West Penwith and around the upper Helford River. They are often associated with courtyard house settlements and with various forms of contemporary settlement sites including rounds and hillforts. The original functions of fogous are not fully understood; safe refuges, entrances, storage areas and ritual shrines have been proposed as possibilities, with particular emphasis on the refuge theory. They form an extremely rare and distinctive class of monument and are important sources of information on the unique nature and pattern of settlement that developed during the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west England. The fogou 70m north of Pendeen Manor Farm is one of the best preserved in Cornwall and survives particularly well. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, longevity, territorial, ritual and social significance, domestic arrangements, agricultural practices and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a fogou, situated on a high coastal ridge, overlooking Pendeen Watch lighthouse. The fogou, known locally as 'Pendeen Vau', survives as a roughly Y- shaped subterranean passage, built partly beneath and partly into a large stone and earth hedge bank. The main passage is constructed from stone-built side walls roofed with stone lintels. The main passage descends steeply for 7m then levels out and turns slightly before continuing for a further 9.5m to end with a small hole in the roof. This passage is up to 4.5m wide and 2.5m high. At the point where the main passage curves, a branching passage to the north has a tiny portal entrance and the chamber extends about 7m and is up to 1.5m wide and 1.2m high. This chamber is built entirely from natural 'rab' or granite clay with no supporting stonework. First recorded by Norden in 1728, the fogou was examined by Borlase who lived at the nearby Pendeen House. He restored some of the entrance and added steps which had disappeared by Hencken's time (c. 1932). Clark and Ford suggested that a wall cupboard within the fogou was not another 'restoration' but an original Iron Age feature.
PastScape Monument No: - 421529