A holed stone known as 'The Tolvan Stone' at Tolvan Cross

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1006754

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1923

Location Description: Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Map

Ordnance survey map of A holed stone known as 'The Tolvan Stone' at Tolvan Cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

Location Description: Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Gweek

National Grid Reference: SW 70626 27707

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Holed stones are both unusual and rare objects, thought to have originally formed part of the entrance passages to megalithic portal dolmens providing access to the burial chamber within a mound. The chamber itself would also originally have been stone built and such structures are thought to date to the Early and Middle Neolithic period (3500 - 2600 BC), although many were re-used in later periods. Only approximately 20 portal dolmens are known nationally and these are concentrated in west Penwith, Cornwall. As a result they are extremely rare and ancient. Several holed stones are known from Cornwall. 'The Tolvan' at Tolvan Cross is the largest and, despite not being in its original location, it is still a rare and remarkable survival which gave its name to a whole local estate indicating the esteem in which it was held. The recorded local tradition for healing also adds to its interest.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a holed stone known as The Tolvan Stone, situated on a ridge forming the watershed between the valleys of two tributaries to the Helford River. The holed stone survives as a slightly leaning earthfast triangular stone measuring approximately 2.3m high, 2.3m wide at the base and 0.3m thick. It is completely pierced by a circular hole of about 0.4m in diameter. When it was moved to its present location in a garden in 1847, it was 2.6m high and 2.7m wide but was cut to make some gateposts. Close to the original position of the stone, a 1.5m diameter stone-lined circular pit containing quartz stones and some pottery is said to have been found, along with a trough like stone called the 'Cradle' which has since been destroyed. The Tolvan derived from 'Tol- vean' meaning holed stone gave its name to the whole estate of Tolvean and is mentioned in a survey of 1649 referred to as the 'Main-toll great stone'. A local tradition recorded in 1885 indicated that sick children were passed through the hole in the stone in the hopes of curing their ailments. A nearby barrow is scheduled separately.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-427073

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: CO 14

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

End of official listing