The only buildings or structures existing in Cat in Pictish and early Norse times were a few vitrified forts, some underground erde-houses, hut-circles innumerable, and perhaps a hundred and fifty brochs, or Pictish towers as they are popularly called, which had been erected at various dates from the first century onwards, long before the advent of the Norse Vikings is on record, as defences against wolves and raiders both by land and sea, and especially by sea.
"You can go down awver my land to the hut-circles an' welcome whenever you mind to." "Sure of it, and thank you; but it's another thing just now your brother-in-law to be. I think perhaps, if he has leisure, he might be useful to me. A very clever fellow, Hicks." But Will was in no humour to hear Clement praised just then, or suggest schemes for his advancement.
Only the hut-circles, grey glimmering through the snow on Metherill, laughed at those cruel nights, as the Neolithic men who built them may have laughed at the desperate weather of their day; and the cross beside Blanchard's gate, though an infant in age beside them, being fashioned of like material, similarly endured.
In life, neolithic man dwelt sometimes in pit-dwellings and sometimes in hut-circles, covered with a roof of branches supported by a central pole. In death, he was buried with his kin in long mounds of earth called barrows, in chambered cairns and cromlechs or dolmens.
For nearly two hours the tor from which we had started watched with friendly reassurance over intervening hills; then it dipped out of sight, and we were conscious of a sudden loneliness in a world of enigmatic hut-circles, peopled by sheep and peewits.
It is therefore very deplorable to discover that so much has been destroyed, obliterated, and forgotten. We have still some left. Examples are still to be seen of megalithic structures, barrows, cromlechs, camps, earthen or walled castles, hut-circles, and other remains of the prehistoric inhabitants of these islands.
These downs belong to the true meneage or stony district, but in the past they seem to have been covered with thickets and wild beasts. It is still a lonely, deserted track of country, with prehistoric hut-circles and entrenchments, crossed by two good roads, now often traversed by brake and motor and cycle, leading from Helston to St. Keverne and the Lizard.
A roughly-piled, but massive wall, now almost all broken down, surrounded it, and within its grass-grown oval are two additional walls, at the east and the west ends of the enclosure, and many hut-circles, evidences of the rude dwellings of our remote ancestors. Excavations here many years ago brought to light a jasper ball, some fragments of a coarse kind of pottery, and some oaken armlets.
For some whim Clement never mentioned his engagement; it was a subject as absent from his conversation as his own extreme poverty; but while the last fact Martin had already guessed, the former remained utterly concealed from him. Neither did any chance discover it until some time afterwards. The hut-circles on Cosdon's south-eastern flank occupied Martin's pencil.
Before its face there stretched a winding road of white flint, that climbed from the village, five miles distant, and soon vanished amid the undulations of the hills; while, opposite, steep heathery slopes and grassy coombs ascended abruptly to masses of weathered granite; and at the rear a hillside, whereon Metherill's scattered hut-circles made incursions even into the fields of the farm, fell to the banks of Southern Teign where she babbled between banks of brake-fern and heather.