What a stonker!
Easily found if you have an OS map and only about half a mile from Veryan village if you walk. Who knows what uses this barrow has had over the years..I would guess the concrete slab on the top was a lookout post as the views are superb...even on a windy day in March.
Rabbits are busy colonising the barrow and I had a good look around to see if any of the Golden Ship had been dug out by them...
The nearby Ringarounds are worth a visit if you have time...if just for the strange design of the 'fort' and the view.
After spending some time in the village trying to get directions (which ranged from total ignorance to directions to the churchyard) a lady was fetched for me who 'has lived here longer than anyone'. A lot of people struggle getting information in rural Kernow, but as a native I recognised this as genuine lack of knowledge, rather than the usual emit baiting. I was given directions, up past the round houses, to a field where 'there's nothing to see, though I daresay you might be able to tell there was a mound there if you were an expert', but I was assured that there were 'wonderful views' and it would thus 'not be an entirely wasted trip'.
The mound is the most pronounced I have ever visited in this country and stood out as a huge digitalis induced purple hump in a field of new grass. The concrete slab is a little ugly, but the mound is well structured and very well preserved.
One of the best above ground places to visit as a family, there is plenty of shade on the mound, and the views are dramatic, although it was very overgrown.
I found myself desperatly wanting to belive that there really was a huge golden ship with silver oars and, out of character, truly wishing that the excavation which made a lie of the legend had never occured.
On a hill near Veryan is a barrow, in which Gerennius, a mythical king of Cornwall, was said to have been buried many centuries ago, with his crown on his head, lying in his golden boat with silver oars. It was opened in 1855 when nothing but a kistvaen (a rude stone chest) containing his ashes was found. His palace of Dingerein was in the neighbouring village of Gerrans. A subterranean passage, now known as Mermaid's Hole, one day discovered when ploughing a field, was supposed to have led from it to the sea.
M. A. Courtney
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1. (1887), pp. 14-61.
I can't see Mermaid's Hole on the map, so be careful not to fall into it if it's still there.
The beacon at Veryan stands on the highest ground in Roseland, at a short distance from the cliff which overlooks Pendower and Gerrans Bay. Dr Whitaker, in his 'Cathedral of Cornwall,' states it to be one of the largest tumuli in the kingdom. Its present height above the level of the field in which it stands is about twenty-eight feet, and its circumference at the base three hundred and fifty feet; but it must have been originally much larger, as a considerable portion on one side has been removed, its summit being now about' eighty feet from the base on the south side, and only fifty feet on the north, whilst the top of the cairn which was discovered in it, and which 'was, no doubt, placed exactly in the original centre of the mound, is at least ten feet still farther north than the present summit.
"A tradition has been preserved in the neighbourhood, that Gerennius, an old Cornish saint and king, whose palace stood on the other side of Gerrans Bay, between Trewithian and the sea, was buried in this mound many centuries ago, and that a golden boat with silver oars were used in conveying his corpse across the hay, and were interred with him. Part of this tradition receives confirmation from an account incidentally given of King Gerennius, in an old book called the 'Register of Llandaff.'
It is there stated that, A.D. 588, Teliau, bishop of Llandaff, with some of his suffragan bishops, and many of his followers, fled from Wales, to escape an epidemic called the yellow plague, and migrated to Dole in Brittany, to visit Sampson, the archbishop of that place, who was a countryman and friend of Teliau's. 'On his way thither,' says the old record, 'he came first to the region of Cornwall, and was well received by Gerennius, the king of that country, who treated him and his people with all honour. From thence he proceeded to Armories, and remained there seven years and seven months; when, hearing that the plague had ceased in Britain, he collected his followers, -caused a large bark to be prepared, and returned to Wales.' 'In this,' the record proceeds, 'they all arrived at the port called Din.Gerein, king Gerennius lying in the last extreme of life, who when he had received the body of the Lord from the hand of St Teliau, departed in joy to the Lord.'
'Probably,' says Whitaker, in his remarks on this quotation, 'the royal remains were brought in great pomp by water from Din-Gerein, on the western shore of the port, to Came, about two miles off on the northern; the barge with the royal body was plated, perhaps, with gold in places; perhaps, too, rowed with oars having equally plates of silver upon them; and the pomp of the procession has mixed confusedly with the interment of the body in the memory of tradition.' "
From Popular Romances of the West of England
collected and edited by Robert Hunt
[1903, 3rd edition]
A Bronze Age barrow, one of the largest in England and traditionally the burial place of Gerennius (or Gerent) King of Cornwall circa 590 AD. It was excavated in 1855 when it measured 28ft high by 350ft circumferance, and originally must have been larger as part of the north side seems to have been removed. The excavation found a central heap or cairn of stones within which was a cist containing ashes, charcoal and dust but no pottery or other grave goods. Several secondary cremations were also found. Field investigation in 1977 found the barrow to be in good condition but the flat top mutilated by the insertion of a triangulation station and amorphous hollows, and the base cut back by ploughing.
(SW 91263863) Carne Beacon (NAT) Tumulus (NR). (1)
Carne Beacon, traditionally the burial place of Gerennius (or Gereint), King of Cornwall c.590 AD, has been described as one of the biggest Bronze Age barrows in Britain. When excavated in 1855, it measured 28 feet high by 350 feet in circumference, and originally must have been even larger, for a considerable portion of the north side appears to have been removed at some time. Trenching revealed a central heap of stones, or cairn, within which was a cist measuring 4 1/2 ft by 2 ft by 2 1/2 ft, containing ashes, charcoal and dust, but no pottery or other grave goods. Several secondary cremations were found around the centre of the mound, which was restored to its original condition when the excavation was completed. (2-4)
This large round barrow lies on a level plateau at 100m above OD. It is almost circular in plan, measuring 34.0m by 32.0m and stands 5.5m high. The flat top has been mutilated by the insertion of a triangulation station and amorphous hollows, and the base has been cut back by ploughing. Overall the barrow is in good condition. There is no visible trace of a ditch either on the ground or on either the RAF or OS APs. 1:2500 survey revised on AO Model. (5)
The barrow was used as a beacon during the historic period and as an observation post during World War II. The remains of the observation post remain as a concrete platform with traces of a former superstructure. A stone-faced boundary bank runs north-south across the top of the mound. It forms part of a post medieval field system and is believed to be medieval in origin. Aerial photographs indicate traces of two concentric, buried, external ditches, which are thought to completely encircle the mound. (6)
( 1) Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) OS 6" 1963
( 2) Annual report of the Royal Institution of Cornwall (J Adams) 37, 1855 Page(s)23-6
( 3) by Christine Hawkridge 1967 Veryan and the Roseland Page(s)2-3
( 4) Nicholas Thomas 1960 A guide to prehistoric England Page(s)54
( 5a) Aerial photograph RAF 106G/UK 1663 12 7 46 3114-5
( 5b) Aerial photograph OS 75/044/044-5
( 5) Field Investigators Comments F1 CC 22-SEP-77
( 6) Scheduled Monument Notification EH Scheduled Monument Revision, 08-MAR-2001 Page(s)6