Dingerein Castle small multivallate hillfort and annexe, 240m north west of Curgurrel Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019742

Date first listed: 09-Aug-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Mar-2002


Ordnance survey map of Dingerein Castle small multivallate hillfort and annexe, 240m north west of Curgurrel 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: Gerrans

National Grid Reference: SW 88203 37544


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

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. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Dingerein Castle small multivallate hillfort and annexe, 240m north west of Curgurrel Farm survive reasonably well. Despite reduction or levelling of parts of the ramparts and the enclosing bank of the annexe, substantial lengths remain intact, and the overall ground plan is clear. The old land surface beneath the upstanding earthworks, and remains of buildings and structures and other deposits associated with these, will survive.


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


The scheduling includes a later prehistoric small multivallate hillfort and annexe, situated on the crest of a hill, with a fairly steep coastal slope to Gerrans Bay to the south east. The hillfort is sub-circular in plan, measuring approximately 135m across overall. The inner rampart of earth and stone is visible on the north and west sides as a bank 2.5m wide, 1.4m high internally and up to 3.3m high externally. On the east side it appears as a scarp some 10m wide and 1.1m high with slight traces of the inside of the bank; it is also visible on aerial photographs on the south side. Aerial photographs also show a buried ditch outside this rampart to the north, visible on the ground around the north and west sides as a low flat strip 8.5m wide outside the inner rampart; by analogy with similar sites this ditch will extend around the whole circuit. The interior of the fort is level. The concentric outer rampart is visible on the ground as a substantial earthwork incorporated in boundary banks around the north, west, and south sides, measuring up to 4.1m across and 1.3m high on the inside, and 1.5m high outside. There is no evidence of the outer rampart on the east. Aerial photographs show an outer buried external ditch on the SSW side, which again is considered to have continued around the outer rampart, and to be of similar width to the rampart. A low scarp visible on the ground on the south east side is considered to form part of the bank enclosing a crescentic annexe east of the hillfort. A buried ditch outside the bank is shown on aerial photographs, and this ditch defines the annexe on the north. The interior of the annexe slopes slightly south east. A fogou or underground chamber possibly used for refuge or storage is associated with the hillfort. This has not been located. The surfaces of the modern public road and approach road, telegraph poles, signposts, beehives and all modern fencing, gateposts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.


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

Legacy System number: 32935

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hearne, T, The Itinerary of John Leland, (1769)
Padel, O J, Cornish placename elements, (1985), 50, 73
Ralegh-Radford, C, OW819, (1929)
Whitaker, J, The Ancient Cathedral of Cornwall, (1804)
Ms at RIC, Henderson, C, Notes on the Parish of Gerrans, (1925)
SW 83 NE 8, King, AN, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1968)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1996 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Gerrans Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1841 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 548, 778
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1907 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Ts at CAU, James, D, Notes on the ancient earthworks at Curgurrel, near Gerrans, (1996)

End of official listing