Three round barrows on St Issey Beacon, Trelow Downs, 960m north east of Little Pennatillies


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Three round barrows on St Issey Beacon, Trelow Downs, 960m north east of Little Pennatillies
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Issey
National Grid Reference:
SW 92339 68472, SW 92494 68337, SW 92574 68332

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in 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.

Despite limited modification, the three round barrows on St Issey Beacon, Trelow Downs, 960m north east of Little Pennatillies survive well. The underlying old land surfaces, and remains of any structures or other deposits associated with these and with the upstanding earthworks, will also survive. The prominent hilltop location illustrates well the important role of topography in prehistoric funerary activity.


The scheduling includes three round barrows situated on Trelow Downs, on the hill called St Issey Beacon or High Barn, north of St Columb Major. The barrows lie on the upper north west slopes of the rounded Beacon. They are closely associated with others beyond this scheduling, forming an outlying group within a hill and ridgetop barrow cemetery; and are also associated with other prehistoric funerary and ritual monuments nearby. Two of the barrows are fairly close together, while that to the north west is more widely spaced. The scheduling comprises three separate areas of protection. The barrow on the west in the scheduling and in the wider cemetery, on the north west shoulder of the hill, has a mound with a sub-circular plan and a roughly rounded profile. It measures 10.1m north-south by 9.7m east-west and around 1.3m high. The mound is built of earth and stone, including white quartz rubble in the region of 0.1m-0.2m across. A trench some 4.4m long, 1.2m wide, and 1m deep, extending from the east edge of the mound to the centre, is considered to be the result of antiquarian exploration. There is no evidence for a ditch surrounding the mound. To the south east, on the crest of the hilltop, are the two closer set barrows. Both have an oval earth and stone mound with a curving profile, and no known external ditch; and each mound has an exploration trench up to 2.5m wide and 0.7m deep running east-west across it. The western one of these barrows measures 15.5m across north-south and 14.5m east-west, and its height is approximately 1.1m. That on the east measures 13.3m east-west by 12.2m north-south and is up to 1.2m high.

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:
Legacy System:


MS at RIC library, Truro. Date approx, Henderson, C, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, (1917)
Saunders, AD, AM7, (1959)
SW 96 NW 28, Fletcher, MJ, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1972)
SW 96 NW 28, Quinnell, NV, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Cornwall Mapping Project Source Date: 1995 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Date approx.
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1810 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: St Issey Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1841 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

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