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

Chapel Carn Brea

Entrance Grave

Fieldnotes

Often referred to as the "first and last hill in Cornwall", as, well, it is, this is a mighty place. Seeming like a smallish hillock from the bottom, when you are on top it seems so much higher as there is not much highland on the Land's end peninsular. There is sea on 3 sides, St Buryan church stands proud on the flat plains to the south, and Carn Kenidjack lurks to the north with it's circles and menhirs. The chapel in question was a hermitage, built on the site of a late neolithic or early bronze age entrance grave. Little remains of this, although some drystone walling and parts of the capstone can be seen. The reason for the destruction of the tomb was firstly the hermitage, built in the 1400's and finally demolished in 1816, and then a WW2 radar beacon built right on top of the grave which pretty much ruined what was left. All of which doesn't detract from it's superb views and ambience - although when we visited the wind was doing it's best to blow us off again. A local tale says that one of the hermits in C17th named Harry was accused of being a sorcerer by the Dean of St. Buryan on account of those who crossed him losing crops and livestock etc. The tale does not tell what the outcome was, but rumour has it that the early christian cross (which probably replaced a bronze age menhir) at nearby Crows-an-Wra, which means "Witch's Cross", is a memorial to the unfortunate Harry. On a clear day, this really is an awesome hangout with a few tales to tell. Posted by Gazza
19th June 2000ce

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