Small multivallate hillfort with outworks known as Pencarrow Rounds


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:
SX 03736 70106, SX 03939 70018

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, either simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. Small multivallate hillforts are rare and important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite having been cut by a drive and lying within a forested area, the small multivallate hillfort with outworks known as Pencarrow Rounds survives well and is unusual in having such an extensive range of outworks and an annexe. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, strategic importance and overall landscape context.


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes a small multivallate hillfort with outworks, situated on a prominent ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Camel. The hillfort survives as two closely-spaced, largely concentric, oval inner ramparts with ditches, although the outermost diverges slightly to the north west. There is a further annexe to the west, formed by a rampart with outer ditch, and at a distance of approximately 140m to the north west from the main enclosed areas, two further diverging ramparts with outer ditches form the outworks. The original entrances were on the western side and are utilised by a drive to Pencarrow House which crosses the central enclosed area and cuts through the ramparts to the south east. The inner ramparts are up to 3.4m high with ditches of up to 1.1m deep. The annexe has a very strong rampart measuring up to 3m high with a 1.1m deep ditch. The outwork ramparts are up to 1.5m high and the ditches up to 1.2m deep. The hillfort is known locally as either Pencarrow Rounds or Pencarrow Rings and lies within a Registered Park and Garden (1643). The surface of the drive is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-431834


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

Legacy System number:
CO 287
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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