Craig’s Commentaries

Craig on the complexity of Carn Gluze (Ballowall Barrow)

This large, complex and multi-phase monument is unique. It consists of a large closed chamber within a central cone-shaped cairn, which is surrounded by a later collar, or cairn-ring. The central chamber contained a T-shaped rutual pit, which can still be seen, and a number of stone cists. Two further cists can be seen in the (modern) narrow space between the central cairn and the collar, which contains a smaller chamber on the E side, again with a pit cut into its floor. Set into on the SW side, is an entrance grave with two cap stones in place.

It is possible that a typical small chambered cairn of Scillonian type was the first structure to be built here, in the Neolithic Period, followed by a cost set into its back before the central cairn, with its own cists, were added in the Middle Bronze Age. Finally, the wide collar, incorporating the original mound, and entrance grave chamber, completed the monument. The top of the central cairn is now missing but it survives to a height of 2.7m. When complete, it may have stood in the region of 4.5m high. The entire monument has diameters of 21.4m and 20.4m.

This is from the Entry on Ballowall Barrow in his book, Cornovia.

Craig the Horserider on Natural England and Bridle Gates

“Down here in West Cornwall, NE (Natural England) and its partners have been guilty of breaching the Highways Act, the CRoW Act, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act, and have even committed criminal trespass.

“The so-called bridle gates they have installed do not conform to British Standards and are so dangerous as to have caused several accidents, one of them serious. The BHS has condemned every one of them. NE assurances to immediately address any concern about these gates have come to nothing. As a result, the number of riders (and walkers) using the newly enclosed moor have decreased by an estimated 75%.” As published in (n.d.)

Craig the Archaeologist on English Heritage and the Threat to the UNESCO World Heritage Bid

“In 1988, the then Penwith District Council wrote to English Heritage, concerned that significant monuments in the area had no legal protection. English Heritage assured them that a radical new Scheduling list was in progress, to be complete within 5 years.

“It never appeared, not to this very day, but they kept on giving the Council that assurance. Then, just last year, I came across a document written by Cornwall’s Historic Environment Service in 2008, clearly stating that all Scheduling in West Penwith had been halted in 1987, with English Heritage deciding that the new Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme for Penwith would be adequate protection.

“I know this to be fact, because I was the officer at the Council who wrote the letters.” Originally published in (30 October 2011).

Craig on Cornish Enclosed Settlements

During the succeeding Iron Age, the larger farm settlements often enclosed themselves within a circular or oval bank and outer ditch, known to archaeologists as “rounds”. This was the *ker that features in many place-names (often as car-). There may have been an element of status in this practice, but it was also practical in that predators such as wolves couldf be kept away from livestock housed inside the enclosure at night. One theory suggest that the bank was rendered impervious by being densely planted with blackthorn. Over 3,000 rounds have been identified in Cornwall, pointing to a large population, and there may be more yet to be discovered. Their practice continued, in some cases, to as late as the 6th century AD.

Craig the Historian on the 1549 “Anglo-Cornish War”

“Make no mistake, 1549, the blackest year in Cornish history, should not be minimised as merely a “Prayer Book Rebellion”, as is the trend of mainstream histories.  It was nothing less than all-out war, instigated by injustice and fuelled by outrage, but most books say little about it and, sadly, our schoolchildren are told even less….

“Not even the most Anglophilic historian has a good word to say about Provost Marshal Sir Anthony Kingston. Cruel, inhumane, a man divested of common humanity. … This was the man sent by Russell into Cornwall to carry out the dirty work of the State…..

“In all, then, the Anglo-Cornish War of June-August 1549 and its sickening aftermath cost the lives of more than 5,000 Cornish people – approximately 10 per cent of the Duchy’s entire population….

“[English Heritage] refuses to acknowledge the five battle sites or enter them on the Catalogue of British Battlefields -even though they rank among the biggest and bloodiest battles ever fought on Britain’s soil.”

Originally published in in April 2014.