Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1814.

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Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons, 'Antiquities', Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814), pp. ccxvi-ccxxviii. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons. "Antiquities", in Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814) ccxvi-ccxxviii. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Lysons, Daniel. Lysons, Samuel. "Antiquities", Magna Britannia: Volume 3, Cornwall, (London, 1814). ccxvi-ccxxviii. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


British and British-Roman Antiquities. — Cornwall abounds with the rude memorials of its early inhabitants, much resembling those which remain in Ireland, in Wales, and in the northern parts of this island, consisting of large unwrought stones, placed erect, either singly or in circles, or with others laid across; and tumuli of stones or earth.

Of the upright stones, two of the most remarkable are standing a furlong asunder, at Bolleit in St. Buryan, the one twelve, and the other sixteen feet high (fn. n1). Dr. Borlase describes two in the tenement of Dryft in Sancred, and two others in that of Trewren-Madern, which he supposes to be sepulchral monuments. "On the downs," he says, "leading from Wadebridge to St. Columb, and about two miles distant from it, is a line of stones bearing north-east and south-west, generally called the Nine Maids." (fn. n2)

Circles of Stones. — The circles of erect stones are very frequent in this county, where they are generally known by the name of Dawns-mên (fn. n3) (the stone-dance): those hereafter enumerated are particularly described and figured in Borlase's Antiquities of Cornwall: — Four in the hundred of Penwith, viz. Boscawen-ûn, and Rosmodrevy (fn. n4), in the parish of St. Burian; Boskednan (fn. n5) in Gulvall: and an oval inclosure in the tenement of Kerris, in the parish of St. Paul, formed by rude stones, 52 paces from north to south, and 34 from east to west, called the Roundago; with four rude pillars, about eight feet high, at the southern termination (fn. n6) : the monument called the Hurlers, in the parish of St. Cleer, originally consisted of three circles, from which many stones have been carried away (fn. n7) : a cluster of circles at Botallek in St. Just, some of them intersecting others (fn. n8) : a circle of stones, on a hill called Karn-Menelez, in the parish of Wendron, in the middle of which is a large natural rock, consisting of four flat layers (fn. n9) : a small circle of stones at Tredineck, in the parish of Gulvall (fn. n10) : a circle in the parish of Zennor, formed by small stones thrown loosely together, having at the entrance one tall pillar (fn. n11); and a singular monument at Bodinar, called the Crellas, being a double circle, 55 feet by 50, consisting of low walls; and another single one adjoining, only 18 feet in diameter (fn. n12). Dr. Borlase also describes two other circles of upright stones in the Scilly Isles; one of them on Salakee-downs, in St. Mary's (fn. n13), and the other on the island of Trescaw. (fn. n14)

It is most probable that these circles of upright stones, the work of the rude inhabitants of this island, in the earliest ages, were applied to purposes of religion; though the opinion of those who consider them as peculiarly referable to the druidical superstitions, does not appear to be supported, by the few notices which are to be met with on that subject, in the writings of the ancients: all the writers who were contemporary with the Druids, from whom alone any real knowledge of them can be derived, uniformly assert that their religious rites were confined to groves of oak; whilst these rude stone monuments chiefly abound in the most desert parts of our island, where, in all probability, neither oaks nor any other trees ever grew: and similar ones are found in almost every part of the world, though the Druids are supposed to have been chiefly confined to Britain and Gaul.

Rounds. — There are also in Cornwall several circular inclosures, with walls of stone or earth, on the inside of which are rows of seats, having been amphitheatres, originally intended for the exhibition of sports of various kinds, and where, in later times, the Cornish plays were represented; they are known by the name of Rounds, or Plân an guare (the place of sport); and one of them, in the parish of Redruth, has given that appellation to the village where it is situated. Two of the most remarkable of these works, are the Rounds of St. Just and Piran; the former is described by Dr. Borlase as being an exact circle, of 126 feet in diameter; the perpendicular height of the bank being seven feet from the area within, but the height from the bottom of the ditch without, 10 feet, formerly more. The seats of stone, consisting of six steps, were 14 inches wide, and one foot high (fn. n15) : it is not at present nearly so perfect as it appears to have been when thus described: — The area of Piran-Round is "perfectly level, about one hundred and thirty feet in diameter, with benches of turf, seven in number, rising eight feet from the area." (fn. n16)

Barrows. — Tumuli or Barrows, both of earth and stones, (the latter commonly known by the British appellation of Kairns,) are found in several parts of Cornwall, most of which may be considered as the sepulchral memorials of the Britons; though no doubt some of them, especially those which have been found to contain neatly executed urns, may be referred to the Romans, or Romanized-Britons. Dr. Borlase describes a tumulus of earth in a field at Trelowarren, opened in 1751, in the middle of which was a small cell, formed of stones, inclosing bones; and in part of the barrow were found two urns, with their mouths downward, inclosing bones and ashes. On St. Austell-downs there are many barrows, which "lie sometimes two, three, even seven in a strait line (fn. n17)." A stone tumulus or kairn at Tredinek in Gulvall is figured in Dr. Borlase's work (fn. n18). In the year 1733, a barrow of earth in the tenement of Chickarn, in the parish of St. Just in Penwith, was found to contain, near the centre, a paved square cell of stone, in which was an ornamented urn, full of human bones; and a great number of plain urns were discovered in other parts of the barrow (fn. n19) : three barrows, about a mile distant from that last-mentioned, situated in the tenement of Bosavern-Rôs, in the same parish, were opened in the year 1748: in one of them was found the skeleton of a man, having a long stone on each side, and one at each end; in another, there were several urns, one of which was enclosed in a stone cell.

Dr. Borlase speaks of the barrows in the Scilly islands, as being "very numerous, and constructed in one manner: the outer ring being composed of large stones pitched on end, and the heap within consisting of smaller stones, clay and earth mixed together, having generally a cavity of stone-work in the middle, covered with flat stones." (fn. n20)

Figure 12:

Chûn Cromlech

Cromlechs. — Another kind of rude stone-monument, the Cromlech, which there is every reason to suppose sepulchral, consisting of a large flat stone, in an horizontal position, supported by several others fixed upright in the ground, is frequently found in this county, where it is commonly known among the country people, by the appellation of the Quoit, or the Giant's-Quoit. The five following are particularly described by Dr. Borlase in his Antiquities of Cornwall: — Môlfra-Cromlech, in the parish of Maddern, standing on a hill, surrounded by a stone barrow or kairn; the cover-stone being nine feet eight inches, by 14 feet 3 inches, including a piece which has been broken off and lying near it: Lanyon-Quoit, also in the parish of Maddern, 19 feet in length, and raised so high that a man on horseback may sit under it: Zennor-Cromlech, standing on a hill, about half a mile to the east of Zennor church-town, surrounded by a stone barrow: Chûn-Cromlech, the covering-stone of which is 12 feet 6 inches, by 11 feet, standing on a tumulus, about 500 feet south-west of Chûn-castle: and Carwynen-Cromlech, in the parish of Camborne, the covering-stone of which is 12 feet, by 11 feet 6 inches (fn. n21). To these may be added that of Trethevy, standing on a hill in the parish of St. Cleer, (described and figured by Norden in his Survey,) the coveringstone being 16 feet long, and 10 wide; and one standing about a mile west of Castle-Andinas, near St. Columb, called the Giant's-Quoit, now used as a pig-stye. A few years before the year 1802, a cromlech was discovered under a tumulus of earth, in the parish of Maddern; and beneath it were found the remains of a human body. (fn. n22)

Celts. — The instruments of mixt metal, commonly called Celts, apparently cast in imitation of the stone hatchets and chisels of the early inhabitants of our island, nearly resembling those used by the natives of the South-sea islands, and in all probability applied to the same uses, have been found in greater abundance in Cornwall, than in any other part of the kingdom; and it seems probable that there was a considerable manufactory of them in the neighbourhood of the ancient mines in the western part of the county: several were found on the side of Karnbrê-hill in the year 1744. (fn. n23) In the parish of Lalant, four miles north of St. Michael's Mount, in the year 1802, a farmer discovered, about two feet below the surface of the earth, a quantity of celts, weighing about 14 or 15 pounds, with pieces of copper swords, and heavy lumps of fine copper, evidently brought thither for fusion; at the bottom of the socket of one of the celts were some small bars of gold, none of them larger than a straw (fn. n24). Another large quantity of celts, with spear-heads and broken pieces of copper swords, with several lumps of metal, weighing altogether about 80 pounds, were discovered in the parish of St. Hilary, about the year 1800. (fn. n25) Leland also mentions spear-heads and swords made of copper, and battle-axes, (probably celts,) as having been found in the parish of St. Hilary, before he went into Cornwall. In the year 1812, a quantity of celts were found, with a sword of the same mixed metal, in a meadow called LongMoor, belonging to Lanhern-house, in the parish of Mawgan. (fn. n26)

Caves. — Several artificial caves, or subterraneous passages, have been discovered in Cornwall, consisting of long galleries, running in various directions, formed of upright stones, with others laid across. Three of these are particularly described by Dr. Borlase, one of them in the tenement of Bolleit, in the parish of St. Burian, about seven feet high, and 36 feet from end to end, with another branching out on one side; another called the Giants'-holt, in the tenement of Bodinar, in the parish of Sancred; and the third, called Pendeen-Vau, the most entire and curious of them, consisting of three caves or galleries (fn. n27); these he supposes to have been places of retreat for the Britons, and for securing their valuables in times of war and danger. A more extensive work of this kind has been discovered since Dr. Borlase's time, near Trelowarren, consisting of several galleries, one of them 60 feet long, four feet wide, and five feet six inches high, being formed of rough stones, narrowing towards the top, which is covered with large blocks of stone, and entrance-passages formed by upright stones, with others laid across; but the exact form and extent of this work cannot at present be ascertained, much of it being filled up with rubbish (fn. n28). Mr. Polwhele describes another of these caves at Bos-au-an, in the parish of Constantine, called Piskey-hall, 30 feet long and five wide, consisting of rough stone walls, six feet four inches high, covered with rude stones. (fn. n29)

Coins, &c.—In the year 1749, a great number of gold coins were found in the middle of the ridge of Karnbrê-hill, of which seventeen are figured in Borlase's Antiquities (fn. n30) : they varied in weight from 22 grains to 4 dwts. 14 grains.

They appear to be very rude imitations of the Greek coins of Philip, some of them having a head on one side, with a garland or diadem, and what appears to have been intended for a chariot on the other, though very imperfectly and rudely expressed, and hardly any thing more than a horse, a wheel, and a slight indication of the charioteer appearing: none of them had inscriptions; some were flat, others a little convex on one side, and concave on the other. Dr. Borlase conceives that they are all British, and struck before the time of the Roman invasion (fn. n31) : they bear a great resemblance to the ancient Gaulish coins.

Figure 14:

Ornament of gold found near Penzance

In 1783, one of the ancient British ornaments of gold, in the form of a crescent, with a narrow zigzag pattern slightly engraved on it, and weighing two ounces, four pennyweights, and six grains, was discovered near the remains of one of the circular earth-works, in the neighbourhood of Penzance: this curious relick, which is in the possession of Rose Price, Esq., is represented in the annexed plate.

A circle of brass, about six inches in diameter, inlaid with gems, and ornamented with a zigzag pattern, shaded with dots, was found in a stream-work, called Trenoweth, in 1802, and is now in the possession of William Rashleigh, Esq. (fn. n32)

Figure 13:

Inscribed stones in Cornwall

Inscribed Stones. — There are to be seen, in several parts of Cornwall, rude upright stones of granite, with inscriptions, which may be referred to a period antecedent to the Norman Conquest, and some of them to the time of the Romans: one of these now serves as a gate-post at the vicarage-house of St. Clements, near Truro; the inscription runs thus, — "Isnioc Vital. fili. Torrici" (Isniocus Vitalis filius Torrici): the letters are Roman, and, from the form of them, it may be considered as one of the most ancient of these memorials; at the top of the stone is a cross, cut in bas-relief. (fn. n33)

By the high-way side, leading from Fowey to Castledor, is a sepulchral stone, commonly called the Long-stone (fn. n34), eight feet high, with a socket on the top; on one side, is a plain cross, and on the other was this inscription, —"Cirusius hic iacet Cunowori filius: the first two words are now obliterated. Dr. Borlase conjectures that the person mentioned in this inscription was Kinwarwy or Kynvor, a lord of Cornwall, who flourished in the seventh century.

In a croft, about half a mile to the north-west of Lanyon, in the parish of Maddern, lies a large sepulchral stone, nine feet ten inches long, called by the Cornish, Mên skryfa (fn. n35) (the inscribed stone). Dr. Borlase gives the inscription thus, in his Antiquities of Cornwall (fn. n36) : "Rialobran — Cunoval — fil" (Rialobranus Cunovali filius); the first and last letters of this inscription are now obliterated. (fn. n37)

There is a stone seven feet nine inches in length, lying across a brook as a foot-bridge, in Barlowena bottom, between the churches of Gulval and Maddern, with this inscription in letters of a rude form, a good deal corrupted from the Roman, figured in Borlase's Antiquities, p. 391. fig. 4.: "Quenatau ≡ Icdinvi filivs" (Quenatavus Icdinui filius.)

Near the church of Mawgan in Meneage stands an upright stone, commonly called Mawgan-Cross, on one side of which is an inscription, now nearly obliterated, only three or four letters being legible: it is figured in Borlase's Antiquities (p. 391. pl. 35. f. 5), where the inscription is thus given: "Cnegumi filEnans." (fn. n38)

Dr. Borlase describes (fn. n39) a stone nine feet long, and two feet three inches wide, which was formerly a foot-bridge, near Lord Falmouth's seat of Worthyvale, but afterwards placed upright in the pleasure-ground, with this inscription: "Catin hic iacet filius Magari—:" the battle in which King Arthur was mortally wounded, having been fought near Worthyvale, this stone has been, by some, supposed to relate to that event; and the last word erroneously read Maguri, (quasi magni Arthuri.) (fn. n40)

In the parish of St. Cleer, about three quarters of a mile nearly west of the church, in a close called Pennant, is a tumulus, on which stands the lower part of a cross, with some braided ornaments, now nearly obliterated, called, "The other half-stone," from an idea which formerly prevailed, that this was part of the stone above described, lying between Fowey and Lostwithiel. There are traces of digging in several places near this stone; and in one of the hollows, lies another stone six feet in height, and two feet nine inches wide at the bottom, having a square socket on the top: it has some ornaments carved on one side, and on the other is this inscription: "Doniert rogavit pro anima." The name of Doniert is supposed to be intended for Dungerth, King of Cornwall, who was drowned in the year 872, or 873. Dr. Borlase supposes this stone to have been sepulchral, and erected by desire of the deceased (fn. n41); and, indeed, its situation on a tumulus leaves little room for doubting it: the inscription is much less perfect than it appears to have been in Dr. Borlase's time.

In the parish of St. Blazey, is an upright stone, seven feet six inches in height, with an inscription on each side, which Borlase reads thus, — "Alroron Vilici (or Ullici) filivs:" the characters, he observes, were much worn, and very barbarously written; they are now illegible; this inscription, as well as that on St. Cleer, runs horizontally; all the rest in an opposite direction. (fn. n42)

About four miles east of Michell, is an inscribed stone; the inscription on which Borlase describes as much worn, and which he reads, "Ruani hic iacet."

The best-preserved of any of these ancient inscriptions on upright stones, which we saw in Cornwall, is one that supports a shed in a back-court at Rialton-house, in the parish of St. Columb-Minor, which we discovered accidentally, and have never seen it noticed by any writer. The inscription, which, from the form of the letters, may be considered as one of the most ancient, consists only of two names, "Honemimortribvn," (Honemimorus Tribunus;) it is five feet in height, and twenty inches in width. (fn. n43)

Roman Antiquities.

Cornwall has produced few Roman antiquities, except coins, which of late years have been discovered, in great abundance, in the western part of the county: spear-heads, swords, and other weapons of mixt metal, neatly executed, and evidently Roman, have also been frequently found in the ancient mines and stream-works; and from the circumstance of lumps of metal, and fragments of weapons being found with the largest quantities of them, it is most probable, that there was a considerable manufactory of them in the neighbourhood of the mines. A bowl or patera of granite, 10 inches in diameter, was found at Ludgvan, and two small pateræ (fn. n44) of granite in the tenement of Leswyn, in the parish of St. Just, and near them a large urn. The most remarkable Roman antiquities, which have been found in Cornwall, are a small patera of tin, and a pitcher of the same metal, containing above four quarts, and weighing 7lb. 9½ oz., deposited in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, by Dr. Borlase, who gives an inscription at the bottom of the patera (fn. n45) which he reads thus, "Livius Modestus Driuli filius Deo Marti," the letters having a mixture of the Greek character, which frequently occurs in Roman inscriptions of the lower empire. These articles were found in the year 1756, with two stone weights, &c. near the remains of a Roman fort at Bossens, in the parish of St. Erth. (fn. n46)

Leland mentions "a brass pot full of Roman money, found at Tredine" [Treryn]. In 1700, a kairn, called Goldvadnek-barrow was opened, in which was a vault, with a checquered brick pavement, containing a small urn, and several Roman coins of the middle-brass, Faustina the elder, Lucilla, &c. In the year 1702, an urn full of ashes was found in a cell, formed of four upright stones, with a large one placed over, and a round ball of earth, in which were fourscore silver coins of the latter emperors, Valentinian, Gratian, Arcadius, &c. well preserved. In 1723, at Kerris, in the parish of St. Paul, a vault was discovered eight feet long, and fix feet high, paved with stone; within which was a small urn of the finest red clay, full of earth, and some small brass coins. In 1735, on Helford haven, in the tenement of Condorah, were found 24 gallons of Roman copper coins of the age of Constantine; and on the other side of the haven, on one of the creeks which run up into the parish of Constantine, 40 Roman coins, among which were those of Domitian, Trajan, and the younger Faustina in brass (fn. n47). About the same time, 100 Roman copper coins were found in the tenement of Boscastle. In the year 1747, twenty pounds weight of Roman brass coins were discovered on a branch of Falmouth-harbour, in a ditch near Mopas passage, in the parish of St. Michael-Penkevill; Dr. Borlase examined three thousand of them, which were from Gallienus to Carinus: there was one of Alexander Severus, and one of Valerianus (fn. n48). The same author speaks of Roman coins found in ancient tin mines, in the parishes of Illogan and Camborne; the quantity of a pint of copper coins of the lower empire, in the year 1749, at the foot of Carnbrê-hill; about a quart of the same kind of coins found at the same place a few years before; and a gold coin of Valentinian found near the ancient mine in St. Agnes Bal; many Roman coins have also been found in the parish of Tywardreth.

Carte, in a note on his History of England (vol. i. p. 104.), says, that in the beginning of the last century, some Roman coins having been accidentally discovered in a barrow, in the fields of Ludgvan, the miners opened a great number of barrows in that neighbourhood, in hopes of finding treasure; but to their disappointment, found in most of them nothing more than a little cell, inclosing one or more urns, in some of which were a few coins: he had seen coins of Claudius, Nerva, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, L. Verus, Lucilla, and Faustina found at this time. In the year 1779, an urn filled with Roman copper coins was found on the barton of Godolphin, about half a mile from the Roman fort at Bossens: the farmer who found them sold eight pounds weight to a Jew (fn. n49). In 1789, an urn was found in the parish of Morvah, within three quarters of a mile of Chûn castle, filled with Roman coins, mostly of copper, with a few of lead; this urn was found at the corner of a small inclosure, surrounded by a thick uncemented stone wall (fn. n50) : another urn, inclosing Roman coins, was discovered in June 1793, about a hundred yards from the sea, in the parish of Ludgvan, and little more than half a mile north-west of St. Michael's-Mount: the coins, as well as those in the two last mentioned urns, were chiefly of Gallienus, Victorinus, and the Tetrici (fn. n51). In 1807, three hundred of small copper and plated Roman coins, were found between two flat stones, under a large projecting rock, in a field very near the Land's-end; they were chiefly of Gallienus, Postumus, Victorinus, and Tetricus. (fn. n52)

Some of the most perfect specimens of the Roman weapons found in Cornwall are preserved in the collection of W. Rashleigh, Esq., M.P., at Menabilly, among which are two spear heads of brass, found in stream-works in the parish of Roche; one of them, seven inches long; the other, four inches and three-quarters; and the blade of a short sword or dagger, one foot four inches and a quarter in length, found forty feet beneath the surface of the earth, in a stream-work in the parish of St. Blazey.

Roman Roads and Stations. (fn. n53)

"The trade which the Phœnician, Greek, and other ancient merchants carried on for tin in the earliest times, and the wealth and civilization which such a trade must of necessity have introduced into this part of the island, lead us to expect a rich harvest of antiquities in Cornwall. The rude monuments of the early inhabitants of this island, indeed, already described, are found in abundance; yet, in the walk of Roman antiquity, we are perplexed with the same obscure and broken line of roads, and the same meagre and hypothetical list of towns, which we meet with in all our other counties. We cannot bring a stronger proof of this than by observing that, of the places mentioned by Richard of Cirencester, either in his map, or his 16th iter, as situated in this part of the country, Halangium, Tamara, and Cenen, have been fixed at Helston, Tamerton, and Tregony, from the resemblance of names only, the weakest foundation on which an antiquarian system can be raised; the sites of Musidunum and Voluba are utterly unkown; and the barbarous list of these western towns in the Geographer Revennas, such as Giano, Eltabo, and Nemetotacio, sets all conjecture at defiance; while, on the other hand, the only post which the form of the vallum, the remains of coins, pateræ, &c. prove decidedly to have been garrisoned by the Romans (fn. n54), has had no name assigned to it by our boldest antiquarians; and Lestwithiel, Condore, and Stratton, which are supposed by several writers to have been stations of the same people, labour under equal difficulty.

Roads, or fragments of roads, are met with in all parts of the county; one, which there seems every reason to rank among the earliest in the island, runs along the hills, attended by barrows from the Land's-end, by Redruth, Michel, and the ridge of the hills over St. Columb's, &c. towards Stratton, and the north of Cornwall; passing in its course, not far from the Roman fortification of Bossens, and (what Borlase with some reason supposes) the great British one of Carnbrê. This road I have no hesitation in supposing to be British, of which it has all the distinguishing marks.

Two, if not three, Roman roads enter, or are supposed to enter, Cornwall from Devonshire: the first was the continuation of the great western road from Dorchester and Exeter, which has been clearly traced over Hall-down, towards Newton, and marks of which are said to have been found at Brent, leading to Nacker's-hole, and St. Budeaux, near Tamerton, the supposed Tamara of the itineraries; it is lost after crossing the Tamar, in the enclosed lanes between Saltash and Liskeard; but on ascending the downs to the west of Liskeard, traces of it are reported to be seen, in its old lines, attended with many barrows, and pointing to a ford a little below the present bridge of Lestwithiel: from thence, it is conjectured to have proceeded by St. Austell and Grampound, near the last of which it passes a farm called Caervosa, to Truro, (the town of the three roads in Cornish); beyond this it may have passed to the Roman Camp at Bossens, where traces of a road in the same direction are visible, pointing, as is supposed, to St. Michael's Mount, (the Ictis of Diodorus Siculus) (fn. n55), from whence the tin of the Britons was conveyed, by a voyage of four days, to the continent; and at any rate must have been a position which neither the Romans nor any other strangers meaning to settle on the Cornish coast, could possibly have overlooked.

Traces of another road have been discovered, as if coming from Torrington and the north of Devon towards Stratton, and marks of it are evident at WestLeigh, descending the hill in Stratton parish, strait, of the width of 10 feet, but difused, and overgrown with briars: from Stratton it is conjectured to have led towards Bude-haven, which, from its situation, must in early times have been a harbour of considerable importance.

The existence of the third road is more problematical than either of the others, depending chiefly on a ridge of a mile in length, bearing the appearance of a Roman military way, between Stratton and Launceston, near a village which takes the name of Broadridge.

Our knowledge of the Roman stations in this county is, if possible, still more defective than that of their roads. There is a certainty of one at Bossens, in the parish of St. Erth; from the square form of the entrenchment, the traces of a road, and the coins and other antiquities peculiar to that people. It seems to be allowed by all our antiquaries, that a second must have been situated at or near Stratton (fn. n56); and a third is not unlikely to have been at Condora, which lies on a neck of land in Helford harbour, that has been fortified by a vallum drawn from sea to sea, and where many gallons of small Roman coins, such as were used for the payment of the troops, have been discovered. The situation of Cambrê, in the centre of the mining country; of Mount's-bay, for conducting the tin trade; and of Launceston, for an important pass over the Tamar; added to the antiquity of all, and the coins found at two of them, have led several writers to conclude the same with respect to them: but if it be difficult to point out the situation of the Roman settlements in this county, it is still more so to determine their names; nor is it possible to reconcile the towns, which are mentioned by the ancient geographers, to the places where antiquities have been discovered, without trusting very much to conjecture. Ceneum, from resemblance of name chiefly, has been fixed at Tregony; but, from the situation of Condora, and the discovery of coins above-mentioned, there seems to be better reason for placing it there. Voluba, which seems to be somewhere on the river Vol or Fal, may be Tregony or Grampound. Musidunum was at or near Stratton. Halangium may have been the great British post of Carnbrê, which was possessed afterwards (as the coins seem to shew) by the Romans. As for Termolus, Artavia, and Tamara, as they were undoubtedly in Devonshire, we are not at present concerned with them; and Uxela, which some of our Antiquaries have conjectured to be Lestwithiel, appears from Richard to have been on the Parret, in Somersetshire.

Borlase speaks of a bank extending for seven miles, from Fowey to West-Looe, and known by the name of the Giant's-hedge (fn. n57); and of another bank between Fowey and Bodmin; both of which, but the latter especially, he is inclined to suppose remains of ancient roads; but the former is more likely to have been one of the boundaries of a tribe settled in early times on the coast, of which we have so many instances in Cambridgeshire and other parts of England; and the second we may pronounce more decidedly to have been a work of the same kind, as it bears every mark of having been the frontier of the Carnubii against their invaders the Danmonii, drawn (as an inspection of the map will prove) in the only part of their line which was not strong by nature; extending, in the manner of a rampart, from the sea to the river Alan, and defended evidently by three certain British posts, at Pencarrow, Castle-Kynoc, and Castledor."


  • n1. Borlase's Antiquities, plate x. p. 164.
  • n2. Ibid. p. 189.
  • n3. Borlase's Antiquities, p. 194.
  • n4. MS. Collections.
  • n5. Antiq. pl. 15. figs. 2 and 3. p. 198.
  • n6. Ibid. p. 198. and pl. 17. fig. 2.
  • n7. Ibid. fig. 6. and p. 199.
  • n8. Ibid. pl. 16. p. 199.
  • n9. Ibid. pl. 12. fig. 5.
  • n10. Ibid. pl. 15. fig. 1.
  • n11. Ibid. pl. 15. fig. 4.
  • n12. Ibid. pl. 17. fig. 4. p. 206.
  • n13. Ibid. p. 198.
  • n14. Ibid. p. 200.
  • n15. Dr. Borlase's Antiquities, plate 18. figs. 1 and 2. p. 208.
  • n16. Borlase's Natural History, p. 298. pl. 29. fig. 3.
  • n17. Philosophical Transactions, 1740.
  • n18. Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 219. pl. 20. fig. 4.
  • n19. Ibid. p. 234.
  • n20. Account of the Scilly Isles, p. 28, &c.
  • n21. Page 230—232, and pl. 21. p. 223; pl. 224. p. 287.
  • n22. Archæol. vol. xiv. p. 228.
  • n23. Dr. Borlase's Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 281.
  • n24. Archæol. vol. xv. p. 118.
  • n25. Ibid. p. 120.
  • n26. From the information of the Rev. F. V. Jago.
  • n27. A plan and section of this cave are given in Borlase's Antiquities, pl. 25. p. 293.
  • n28. From the information of the Rev. J. Rogers.
  • n29. History of Cornwall, vol. i. p. 129.
  • n30. Borlase's Antiquities, pl. 23. p. 259.
  • n31. Ibid. vol. i. p. 269.
  • n32. See Archæol. vol. 16. p. 137.
  • n33. Figured in Borlase's Antiquities of Cornwall, pl. 35. fig. 1. p. 391.
  • n34. See the annexed plate, fig. 1.
  • n35. See the annexed plate, fig. 3.
  • n36. P. 393.
  • n37. The learned Edward Lluyd, in his letter to Mr. Tonkin, says; "The reading in British is, Rhwalhoran map Kynwal, names not uncommon in our old Welsh pedigrees; I take it to be a thousand years standing." (Borlase's Antiquities, p. 394.)
  • n38. Dr. Borlase supposes it to be a monument of the ninth century; and Enans is said by Mr. Lluyd to be a common name in Wales, where the inscription would run thus, — Knegwm ap Ennian. (Antiquities, p. 395.)
  • n39. Antiquities, pl. 35. fig. 6
  • n40. Ibid. p. 396.
  • n41. Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 398.
  • n42. Ibid. p. 400.
  • n43. See the plate, p. ccxxi. fig. 2.
  • n44. Deposited by Dr. Borlase in the Museum at Oxford, and figured in his Antiquities, p. 293. pl. 25. f. 6. 8.
  • n45. Borlase's Antiquities, pl. 28. fig. 1. No part of this inscription is now legible.
  • n46. Ibid. p. 316 — 320.
  • n47. Ibid. p. 301.
  • n48. P. 300. note.
  • n49. Borlase's Antiquities.
  • n50. Ibid. 226.
  • n51. Ibid. 229.
  • n52. From the information of the Rev. J. Rogers.
  • n53. Communicated by the Lord Bishop of Cloyne.
  • n54. See the account of the camp at Bossens, Borlase's Antiq. p. 316.
  • n55. See p. 138.
  • n56. The exact spot is unknown: the square area near Stratton was the site of a modern house.
  • n57. See p. ccxlvi.