Two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019503

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kea

National Grid Reference: SW 81444 41997, SW 81458 41899


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

Reasons for Designation

Rounds are small embanked enclosures, one of a range of settlement types dating to between the later Iron Age and the early post-Roman period. Usually circular or oval, they have a single earth and rubble bank and an outer ditch, with one entrance breaking the circuit. Excavations have produced drystone supporting walls within the bank, paved or cobbled entrance ways, post built gate structures, and remains of timber, turf or stone built houses of oval or rectangular plan, often set around the inner edge of the enclosing bank. Other evidence includes hearths, drains, gullies, pits and rubbish middens. Evidence for industrial activities has been recovered from some sites, including small scale metal working and, among the domestic debris, items traded from distant sources. Some rounds are associated with secondary enclosures, either abutting the round as an annexe or forming an additional enclosure. Rounds are viewed primarily as agricultural settlements, the equivalents of farming hamlets. They were replaced by unenclosed settlement types by the 7th century AD. Over 750 rounds are recorded in the British Isles, occurring in areas bordering the Irish Seas, but confined in England to south west Devon and especially Cornwall, where many more examples may await discovery. Most recorded examples are sited on hillslopes and spurs. Rounds are important as one of the major sources of information on settlement and social organisation of the Iron Age and Roman periods in south west England. Consequently, sites with significant surviving remains will normally be considered to be of national importance.

The two rounds at Playing Place, 960m and 970m south west of Carlyon Farm survive reasonably well. Despite reduction of the enclosures by ploughing, they remain visible where incorporated into later boundary banks, and are clearly and fully defined on aerial photographs. The old land surface underlying the ramparts on the west side, and remains of buildings, structures and other deposits associated with the base of the ramparts and the external ditches, and with the interiors of the enclosures, can be expected to survive. The close grouping of the two rounds is unusual and can provide important information on later prehistoric to Roman period social and economic organisation, while the association with a medieval plain an gwarry may illustrate one form of reuse of this monument type.


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


The scheduling includes two later prehistoric to Romano-British rounds, with evidence for the use of one as a medieval 'plain an gwarry' or playing place, situated on a slight south east slope on the south west shoulder of a ridge north of Playing Place. The scheduling is divided into two separate areas of protection. The northern round is sub-oval in plan, measuring approximately 60m north- south by 45m east-west. On the north, east and south sides, it has a single enclosing bank of earth and stone approximately 5m wide, with a buried external ditch of similar width, now largely silted. On the west side, the bank is considered to be incorporated in an earth and stone boundary bank with stone facing, relatively modern in its present form, 2.3m wide and 1.3m high. Slight remains of the external ditch are visible on the west side as a depression 3.5m wide and 0.2m deep. The southern round is an irregular sub-oval in plan, measuring approximately 50m north-south by 40m east-west. It has a single enclosing bank of earth and stone approximately 5m wide and a buried external ditch of similar width visible as cropmarks around three sides, with a modern boundary bank 2m wide and 2m high considered to incorporate the bank on the south west. An early 19th century map marks Playing Place at the site, and this has since been established as the place name of the adjacent modern settlement. The term denotes a medieval playing place or (in Cornish) `plain an gwarry', a circular embanked arena used for the performance of miracle plays. One of the enclosures in this scheduling is therefore considered to have been used in this way.

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: 32930

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Padel, O J, Cornish placename elements, (1985), 52, 146
Padel, O J, Cornish Place-Names, (1988), 139
Doble, G H, 'Cornish Saints' in Cornish Saints, , Vol. 20, (1930), 34
Henderson, C, 'Parochial Antiquities' in Parochial Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1918), 136-137
Johnson, N, CAU SMR, (1975)
Mercer, R, AM7, (1970)
SW 84 SW 7, Pitcher, G, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1965)
Title: Kea Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1811 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing