Reasons for Designation
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 of up to nine. 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. At least four courtyard house settlements are also associated with fogous, 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, covered by earth. The courtyard house settlements are important sources of information on the distinctive nature and pattern of settlement that developed during the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west England. Despite some later disturbance, the courtyard house settlement with part of a field system and a possible fogou 550m SSE of Treen survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social organisation, agricultural practices, trade, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a courtyard house settlement, part of its associated field system and a possible fogou, situated on a gentle north west facing slope overlooking the coast at Gurnard's Head. The courtyard house settlement survives as up to three courtyard houses, two of which are almost conjoined. It is defined by drystone walling standing up to 1.3m high with parts of the houses incorporated into a modern field wall. The field system, extending to the west, north and south of the courtyard houses, survives as a series of terraces to a height of 1.2m, some of which are defined by banks of earth and stone, others with revetments and some with orthostats. The fogou is known mainly from tradition and its exact location is unclear.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are the subject of a separate scheduling.
PastScape Monument No:-423596