The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




Visit Date: 9th November 2012

It was only recently that I got to hear of Crowpound after it was suggested that it was rather like King Arthur’s Hall on King Arthur’s Down to the north-west of Bodmin Moor. As KAH is a particular favourite of mine a visit was top of my list.

I have to say that on first appearance it disappointed me as other than a rectangular banked earthwork enclosure it bears little other resemblance to it. There is no grandeur to it and no ambiance as there is at KAH and certainly no granite standing stones lining the inner side of the bank.
I approached the site after leaving the A30 taking the St Neot turn-of and passing Colliford Lake on the LHS. At Fair View/Williams Cottage at a four junctioned xroad you continue south for about another ¾ mile sign posted Mount/Ley before reaching a further xroad. To the left takes you to St Neot and the right to Mount. Go straight over and Crowpound is immediately on your right and makes up the south-east corner junction of the xroad.
Basically it is a rectangular banked earthwork of uncertain age and usage, the middle of the site having been extensively mined and left in an appalling state as far as I am concerned. Why disturbed land was never reinstated by the mining companies is beyond me as it remains such a mess. Holes all over the place with the removed earth banked up alongside. To the middle central area of the enclosure is a somewhat crude interrupted circular banked area which is somewhat of a puzzle, but in amongst all the mining holes and earth deposits its identity simply isn’t clear cut although my first thought I have to say was that it could be an open earthen ringed cairn and the real jewel in the crown of this site. The northern end of the central inner area is quite flat and untouched by mine works so my thoughts are that on first build the whole inner area was a flat surface with the possible exception of this central circular earthwork/ringed cairn with the banked enclosure coming later. Only excavation will resolve that possibility however.
Where it mainly differs, other than having no standing stones to the inner sides of the banks like at KAH, is the consistency and height of the banking. Very neat and tidy with perfectly level tops about 4ft high, whereas the banks at KAH are a bit up and down and somewhat irregular in places and much higher and bulkier. My first thoughts again on seeing this (and now wearing my builders hat) was that they were built level to then take a possible fence to form a perfect stockade to keep animals in. The banks themselves ‘seem’ to have been formed by removing earth from the inner surface but could equally have been brought in from elsewhere and deposited there. As the photos will show there is water lying against the inner base of some of the banking suggesting it was from a shallow ditch left behind after the earth was taken to form the banking, but this is a little sketchy to say the least.
What troubled me the most was that the site had no ‘feeling’ to it and left me cold. It was plain, simple, every-dayish if you like with no heart. It simply did nothing for me and it certainly didn’t feel ‘old’. Inside of me I didn’t want it to be like KAH as that is a special place and in that respect it didn’t let me down!
Now, interestingly, about a quarter of a mile away to the south-east on Goonzion Downs, is a tumulus and lo and behold it is held within another enclosure made up of the same type of banking as more photos will show. A very large enclosure this time with the tumulus set almost into its south-east corner. What’s all that about you have to ask? The tumulus itself has been dug into with the centre torn apart and another example no doubt of treasure seeking morons with no respect for our heritage and/or our great ancestors last resting place! Overall though this entire area has been destroyed by mining works and it does make you wonder if in days gone by anyone really cared a stuff for our past or even once considered re-instating the land back to its former beauty.
Posted by Sanctuary
10th November 2012ce
Edited 10th November 2012ce

Comments (4)

Here is the Pastscape link to it, and it seems to be medieval, though no archaeological evidence either way. Interested in the second rectangular enclosure with tumulus inside, there was a habit later on of 'squaring' the circle/barrow. Roman, Viking re-intepretation of the 'ancestor' barrows, but can't think it happened in Cornwall.....

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moss Posted by moss
10th November 2012ce
The enclosure around the tumulus is Monumnet no. 432541 .The link is a bit big . Possibly dates from the 1950's ,and doesn't appear on 19 th C maps . tiompan Posted by tiompan
10th November 2012ce
Thanks for the replies Moss and Tiompan. Neither Crowpound or the tumulus enclosure banks looked of great age to me. The Crowpound banking was a mixture of earth and smallish 'gravel' which had a reddish tinge to it, as did bread-roll sized bits lying around here and there. The only granite stone of any size was partly buried off-centre in the central 'feature' with about 18" breaking the surface.
George, any indication as to why the tumulus enclosure was so big? It must enclose other interesting features because the tumulus itself just takes up one of the corners? I didn't notice anything myself but it's like a war zone down there as a result of the surface mining and the rest now mostly overgrown with gorse!
Posted by Sanctuary
10th November 2012ce
Sorry Roy the above was a bit cryptic should have said Pastscape monument no 432541 .
Maybe because it was common land or at least very rough pasture it was felt that they could use as much as they liked to make it worthwhile . If it was as suggested by the local farmer , a playground .
tiompan Posted by tiompan
10th November 2012ce
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