Small multivallate hillfort 230m south-east of Great Prideaux


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:

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, which either appear as 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 have a limited geographical distribution they are important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite limited past cultivation, the small multivallate hillfort 230m south east of Great Prideaux survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, territorial and strategic significance, social organisation, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.


The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort, known locally as 'Prideaux Castle', situated at the end of a prominent inland spur. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure defined by three closely-spaced concentric ramparts with ditches and parts of a fourth rampart which survives as either a slight bank or a scarp. The ramparts range in height from 1.3m to 2.7m, the innermost being the best preserved, whilst the outermost rampart survives as a partial scarp up to 1.3m high. The entrances appear to have been staggered. To the north and east, the outer defences are partially overlain by field boundaries which are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included. On the eastern side, the ramparts have been cut by a later entrance. A circular depression to the east may be a hut circle.

The hillfort was first recorded by the Ordnance Survey in 1813 when it was called Prideaux Warren. It was re-surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1969 and by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit in 1988 as part of the Luxulyan Valley Project. Stray finds of a sherd of Iron Age pottery, a granite hammer, flints and a possible cup marked stone have been made within the hillfort.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-431133


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

Legacy System number:
CO 188
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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