Stone hut circle settlements, courtyard house settlement, enclosures and part of a field system at Boswarva Carn


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SW 42688 33492, SW 42928 32951, SW 43120 33232

Reasons for Designation

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. The courtyard house is a building form developed in south west England in the Roman period during the second to fourth centuries AD. It was usually oval or curvilinear in shape, taking the form of a thick coursed rubble wall containing rooms and some storage chambers. A central area - the courtyard - was enclosed by this wall and the rooms and the main entrance opened into it. The courtyard is generally considered to have remained unroofed. Excavations of courtyard houses have revealed paved and cobbled floors, stone partitions, slab-lined and slab-covered drains, threshold and door pivot stones and slab-lined hearths, together with artefactual debris. Excavations have also shown that some courtyard houses developed from earlier phases of timber and/or stone built round houses on the same site. Courtyard houses may occur singly or in groups. The national distribution includes over 110 recorded courtyard houses, mostly on the Penwith peninsula at the western tip of Cornwall, with a single example on the Isles of Scilly. Courtyard houses are unique within the range of Romano- British settlement types, showing a highly localised adaptation to the windswept conditions of the far south west of England. Despite surface stone quarrying, the stone hut circle settlements, courtyard house settlement, enclosures and part of a field system at Boswarva Carn survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, development, function, relative chronologies, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context through time.


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes stone hut circle settlements, courtyard house settlement enclosures and part of a field system surrounding the prominent hill called Boswarva Carn. To the north is an enclosed stone hut circle settlement which survives as an oval enclosure defined by a bank of earth and stones with some orthostats and containing a circular crop mark of up to 7m diameter which may be a hut circle. The enclosure lies within and is partially attached to part of a field system formed by lynchets and banks. To the east of Boswarva Carn lie two stone hut circles within part of a field system of various-sized rectangular field, all defined by stony banks, lynchets and lengths of drystone walling which reach a maximum height of 1.3m. Part of the northern hut is incorporated into a modern field wall. To the south of the hill is a courtyard house settlement with up to five courtyard houses, two of which are conjoined, all defined by stone walls up to 1.7m high; at least three stone hut circles terraced into the hillside and defined by walls of up to 1m high; an oval enclosure; and part of a terraced field system defined by banks and lynchets. The courtyard houses and hut circles have been subject to some surface stone quarrying.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-424361, 424366 and 424299


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
CO 411
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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