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Bowl barrow on St Agnes Beacon 350m west of Cannonball Farm

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Bowl barrow on St Agnes Beacon 350m west of Cannonball Farm

List entry Number: 1016443


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Agnes

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Jul-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29667

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The barrow on St Agnes Beacon occupies a commanding position in the landscape which was important in its secondary and later role as a beacon site. Many beacons were first set up in response to the threat of the Spanish Armada in the 1580s and the beacon at St Agnes may have been one of these, although the first known record of the beacon confirmed at the site of the monument dates from the early 1700s. Despite some modification of its profile as a result of the accumulation of collapsed material from the later 18th century prospect tower, the barrow will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument includes a mound or cairn on St Agnes Beacon which has been interpreted as a Bronze Age bowl barrow later used as the site of a fire beacon and, in the late 18th century, providing the platform for a prospect tower (so called for the views which they usually command). The mound is located on a hill overlooking the village of St Agnes to the east and the coastal promontory of St Agnes Head to the north west. It is indicated as a barrow on the Ordnance Survey map of 1876. The barrow mound, which is about 3.8m in height and 30m in diameter, was a significant feature in the landscape and stood at the end of a line of three cairns which were visible in the period 1710-1720. The shape, raised position and favourable location of the mound, with its all round visibility, led to it being chosen for the site of a fire beacon. These were also the reasons which led it to be selected for the site of a prospect tower (described in near contemporary literature as a summerhouse) which was built in the later years of the 18th century. This is considered to have caused the barrow to have a flat squarish top. In 1796 work began on the Ordnance Survey mapping of Cornwall and a trigonometrical point was set up on the south side of the mound presumably because at this time the summit was still occupied by the tower. The tower stood on the mound until at least 1819 when it was in a partly ruinous state and its presence must have dictated the re-siting of the beacon during the Napoleonic Wars, most probably to one of the two other nearby cairn mounds, both of which were subsequently largely destroyed. By 1846 the tower has ceased to appear on maps and the monument is depicted as a steep mound with evenly sloping sides, consistent with its late 20th century appearance. The outer matrix of the mound, which is known to comprise of stones ranging from 10cms-35cms in length, is believed to represent the debris of the collapsed tower which has encased the underlying Bronze Age deposits and which has resulted in the roughly square-shaped appearance of the mound. An Ordnance Survey trigonometrical point was located on the summit of the mound in 1937, the earlier point on the southern slope having been lost. In 1998 the trig point was converted to serve as a toposcope and some material was added to the area around it to consolidate the summit and prevent visitor erosion. The debris field of the collapsed prospect tower is included in the scheduling as it acts to protect the underlying Bronze Age deposits. The stone-clad toposcope is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Douch, H L, Pool, P A S, 'Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, New Series' in The Parish of St Agnes by Thomas Tonkin, (1975), 195-200
Douch, H L, Pool, P A S, 'Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, New Series' in The Parish of St Agnes by Thomas Tonkin, (1975), 195-200
Preston-Jones, A, 'The Journal of the St Agnes Museum' in St Agnes Beacon, (1997), 3-29
Preston-Jones, A, 'The Journal of the St Agnes Museum' in St Agnes Beacon, (1997), 3-29
Warner, R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Parish of St Agnes, , Vol. 1, (1962), 113
Title: Ordnance Survey Source Date: 1876 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SW 71010 50217


© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016443 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 16-Aug-2018 at 03:54:42.

End of official listing