Carne Godolphin

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameCarne Godolphin
Alternative NamesGodalcan
Historic CountryCornwall
Modern AuthorityCornwall
1974 AuthorityCornwall
Civil ParishBreage

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."

Gatehouse Comments

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.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSW599300
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  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 67
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 188 online copy