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The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Chysauster Ancient Village

Age group: 7+

Location: WEST Cornwall


Contact: nr Penzance, TR20 8XA

TEL: 07831 757934


Chysauster, an English Heritage site, is located 2½ miles NW of Gulval which is north of Penzance off the B3311.


The inhabitants of this deserted Iron Age Romano-Cornish settlement originally occupied this site almost 2000 years ago. The village consisted of stone-walled homesteads known as courtyard houses, which are only found on the Land’s End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly.


The village was believed to have been constructed and occupied between 100 BC and 400 AD; it was primarily agricultural and unfortified and probably occupied by members of the Dumnonii tribe.


The village included eight stone dwellings, arranged in pairs along a street, each with its own garden plot. The houses are oval shaped and around 28 metres long. Their walls survive to heights of up to 3 metres. A field system in the vicinity attests to the site's farming connections. The nearby hill fort of Castle An Dinas may have been a contemporary refuge for the occupants of the village in times of strife.


The village was made up of of stone-walled homesteads known as 'courtyard houses', found only on the Land's End peninsula and the Isles of Scilly. The houses line a 'village street', and each had an open central courtyard surrounded by a number of thatched rooms. The people of Chysauster were farmers and archaeological investigations have revealed that cereal crops were grown in the fields surrounding the village. It is also highly likely that pigs and goats were kept by the settlers and the site is believed to have been occupied for around 100 years.


The reason for their departure is not known but could have possibly have been due to a decrease in the population or even the availability of fuel.





Penzance 4 miles, St Ives 8 miles