Civil War battery and prehistoric entrance grave on the Carn of Works, Gugh
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008323
Date first listed: 07-Oct-1976
Date of most recent amendment: 27-Sep-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Isles of Scilly (Unitary Authority)
Parish: St. Agnes
National Grid Reference: SV 89157 08001
Reasons for Designation
The Isles of Scilly, the westernmost of the granite masses of south west
England, contain a remarkable abundance and variety of archaeological remains
from over 4000 years of human activity. The remote physical setting of the
islands, over 40km beyond the mainland in the approaches to the English
Channel, has lent a distinctive character to those remains, producing many
unusual features important for our broader understanding of the social
development of early communities.
Throughout the human occupation there has been a gradual submergence of the
islands' land area, providing a stimulus to change in the environment and its
exploitation. This process has produced evidence for responses to such change
against an independent time-scale, promoting integrated studies of
archaeological, environmental and linguistic aspects of the islands'
The islands' archaeological remains demonstrate clearly the gradually
expanding size and range of contacts of their communities. By the post-
medieval period (from AD 1540), the islands occupied a nationally strategic
location, resulting in an important concentration of defensive works
reflecting the development of fortification methods and technology from the
mid 16th to the 20th centuries. An important and unusual range of post-
medieval monuments also reflects the islands' position as a formidable hazard
for the nation's shipping in the western approaches.
The exceptional preservation of the archaeological remains on the islands has
long been recognised, producing an unusually full and detailed body of
documentation, including several recent surveys.
Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military
operations between 1642 and 1651 to provide temporary protection for infantry
or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced
with revetting or palisades, consist of earth and rubble platforms or banks
The Civil War fieldworks of the Isles of Scilly form a major part of the 150
surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. They present an
unusually complete system of fortifications from this period, both in the
surviving range of fieldwork types represented and in the surviving pattern of
their strategic disposition.
Three main types of Civil War fieldwork have been recognised on the Isles of
Scilly: breastworks, batteries and platforms; these could be deployed
separately or in combination to form a defensive complex.
Breastworks, which on the Isles of Scilly run beside the coastal cliff edge,
consist of an earth and rubble bank, up to 4m wide and nearly 2m high but
generally much smaller, usually accompanied by a ditch on the landward side.
Sixteen surviving examples are recorded on the island.
Batteries are levelled areas or platforms, generally up to 20m across,
situated on a hilltop or terraced into a slope to serve as gun emplacements.
They vary considerably in size and shape and are usually partially or wholly
enclosed by a bank, occasionally incorporating one or two outer ditches.
Twenty batteries survive on the Isles of Scilly, several connected by
breastworks. Adjacent to some batteries are examples of the third fieldwork
type, platforms. These are partly terraced into, and partly out from, sloping
ground and represent sites of lookouts and temporary buildings. Eight such
platforms, measuring up to 12m by 8m in size, are known to survive on the
islands. These fieldworks and fieldwork complexes were occasionally associated
with other classes of defensive monument on the islands, including earthen
artillery forts and blockhouses.
The fieldworks were designed to defend the deep water approaches to the
islands, especially St Mary's where most examples are found. Fieldworks are
also known from Tresco, Bryher, Samson, St Agnes and Gugh. The circumstances
of their construction are recorded in contemporary historical documents which
indicate most were built by the Royalist forces which controlled the islands
for the entire Civil War period except during 1646-8.
Entrance graves are funerary and ritual monuments whose construction and use dates to the later Neolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Age (c.2500 - 1000 BC). They were constructed with a roughly circular mound of heaped rubble and earth, up to 25m in diameter, whose perimeter may be defined by a kerb of edge-set slabs or, occasionally, coursed stone. The mound contains a rectangular chamber built of edge-set slabs, coursed walling or both, and covered by large slabs, called capstones, set transversely across the chamber. The chamber was accessible via a gap in the mound's kerb or outer edge and often extends back beyond the centre of the mound. The cairn's mound and chamber may incorporate natural boulders and outcrops. Excavations in entrance graves have revealed cremated human bone and funerary urns, usually within the chambers but on occasion within the mound. Unburnt human bone has been also been recovered but is only rarely preserved. Some chambers have also produced ritual deposits of domestic midden debris, including dark earth typical of the surface soil found within settlements, animal bone and artefact fragments. Entrance graves may occur as single monuments or in small or large groups, often being associated with other cairn types in cemeteries. They may also occur in close proximity to broadly contemporary field boundaries. The national distribution of entrance graves is heavily weighted towards the Isles of Scilly which contain 79 of the 93 surviving examples recorded nationally, the remaining 14 being located in western Cornwall.
This Civil War battery on the Carn of Works has survived well. Its situation and the survival of documentation giving the historical context in which this battery was built demonstrates clearly the strategic methods employed by the Civil War military forces and the function of batteries within them. This is illustrated especially clearly by the survival of the complementary Civil War batteries on the opposite side of St Mary's Sound. The presence of the outer defensive line at this battery is unusual. The regard held during the prehistoric period for such natural eminences is shown by the entrance grave incorporated into the much later battery. This entrance grave forms part of a wider, dispersed cairn group on the southern part of the island. The presence of the entrance grave in a group containing various other classes of cairn shows the diversity of funerary activity during the Bronze Age. The relationships between this and the other cairn group, the nearby prehistoric field systems and the topography on this small island, demonstrates well the nature of land use among prehistoric communities and the organisation of funerary and farming activities.
The monument includes a large gun battery dating to the English Civil War,
incorporating a prehistoric entrance grave in one corner and situated on a
summit of a natural eminence, the Carn of Works, on the southern part of Gugh,
Isles of Scilly.
The battery survives as an irregular, levelled, pentagonal platform of earth
and rubble, measuring 21m NW-SE by up to 15m NE-SW and raised by up to 1.2m
above the surrounding ground level. The edges of the platform slope inwards as
they rise and are defined and reinforced by a drystone coursed rubble facing.
Along the western and north western side of the platform, the faced outer edge
of the platform rises beyond the interior level to form a perimeter bank, 1m
wide and up to 0.5m above the platform interior. The perimeter of the battery
incorporates two buttresses: a small rounded projection on the south west
corner and a linear projection, 3.5m long, from the eastern corner. Footings
of an outer defensive line, visible as a slight spread of rubble up to 1.5m
wide and 0.3m high, run almost parallel with, and 3m-5m beyond, the north
east, east and south edges of the revetted platform. The intervening strip
between the platform and the footings is almost fully cleared of surface
stone. A similar cleared strip, averaging 5m wide but without visible
footings, is evident between the platform's outer edge and the natural granite
outcrops to the west and north west of the battery.
The northern angle of the battery platform incorporates and modifies the mound
and chamber of a prehistoric entrance grave. The mound of the entrance grave
is visible as a rounded area, 10.5m in diameter and up to 1.5m high. The
south western half of the mound is fully incorporated into the fabric of the
battery platform but in its northern and eastern sectors its curving
perimeter projects beyond the line of the adjacent north east and north west
sides of the Civil War battery. On the flattened top of the mound the chamber
of the entrance grave is visible as a single edge-set side-slab, 2m long,
NNE-SSW, and 0.3m high, against whose NNE end rests a flat sub-rectangular
covering slab measuring 2m NW-SE by 1m NE-SW. Other chamber slabs detectable
beneath the surface vegetation include another side-slab parallel with and
opposite the visible slab, giving the chamber an internal width of 1.3m, and a
transverse end-slab beneath the NNE edge of the covering slab, giving the
chamber a total known length of 2.9m on a NNE-SSW axis and implying the
entrance was at the SSW end.
This battery on the Carn of Works commanded the south west flank of St Mary's
Sound, the approach from the south to the principal populated island of St
Mary's. A complementary and contemporary battery is located on the north east
flank of the sound on Peninnis Head, St Mary's.
The entrance grave forms part of a larger, more dispersed, group of 22 cairns,
including another entrance grave, which occupy the southern part of Gugh.
Twenty of the cairns, including this monument, are located on or immediately
north of a low ridge which incorporates the Clapper of Works and the Carn of
Works, crossing the southern part of the island transversely. The other two
cairns are located south of the ridge. Part of a prehistoric field system is
located beyond the eastern limit of this cairn group on Dropnose Point, 175m
north east of this monument. Another large and diverse cairn group, partly
integrated with a prehistoric field system, occupies Kittern Hill on northern
Gugh, 500m to the NNW.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 15303
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1993, AM 107 relating to Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 7057,
consulted 1993, AM 107 relating to Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 7421,
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 relating to Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 7057, (1988)
consulted 1993, Waters, A., AM 107 relating to Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 7058, (1988)
Morley, B. & Rees, S., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1017, 1975, consulted 1993
p.30, No.19, CAU, Scilly's Archaeological Heritage, (1992)
p.30, No.19, CAU, Scilly's Archaeological Heritage, (1992)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 80 NE Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map: SX 07/17, Pathfinder 1338, Bodmin Moor (West) Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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