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Carne Godolphin

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Breage.
In the historic county of Cornwall.
Modern Authority of Cornwall.
1974 county of Cornwall.
Medieval County of Cornwall.

OS Map Grid Reference: SW59933004
Latitude 50.12178° Longitude -5.35997°

Carne Godolphin has been described as a Fortified Manor House although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Leland writes "the main seat of the Godolphins, with a ditch and a tower, used to be at Carne Godolphin on top of a hill. The ditch is still to be seen there, and much masonry has recently been taken taken from the site. It is three miles ENE of St Michael's Mount. (Chandler)" In Toulmin-Smith this entry is "Cairdine an old mansion of the Cowlines, wher now William Godalcan dwellith. Carne Godalcan on the top of an hille, wher is a diche, and there was a pile and principal habitation of the Godolcans. The diche yet apperith, and many stones of late time hath beene fetchid thes; it is a 3. miles from S. Michael's Mont by est north est."

Clearly the replacement house to this 'pile' was Godolphin House at SW601318 and next to this is a large, round, natural hill call Gololphin Hill - the summit centre at SW592312. However, apart from some pillow mounds there is no evidence of occupation on this hill and not even a footpath to the summit. Just SW of it is a taller and steeper hill, seemingly called Mount Whistle, which has the remains of an Iron Age hill fort called Castle Pencaire and a disused quarry and this is probably Leland's Carne Godalcan. This seems a most unlikely situation for a medieval high status dwelling (but cf. Carn Brea), but is the sort of site given fanciful histories. Chandler's transcription of "stones" for "masonry" may be misleading. Probably Leland was given a story of an ancient house at this site to give kudos to the Gololphin family. However, Castle Pencaire has not been excavated and the site is damaged by many small quarry pits so the possibility of a medieval dwelling can not be totally excluded.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:22:23

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