Photo credit: Tim Bekaert. The image is in the public domain.
In the light of what follows the idea that the word hogus has a Cornish derivation must be abandoned, I think.
Mr. Pengelly refers the name ” Hogus,” now applied to the rocky ledge between Marazion and the Mount, to an old Scandinavian derivation, meaning “a rock in or near a wood adjacent to water, and used for sacrificial purposes.”
Mr. Peacock takes exception to this determination on the ground that Hogus (in Guernsey hougue, French hogue, neo-Latin hoga) sometimes denotes a quarriable knoll, of which he gives examples.
This is a quote from page 11 of a work entitled The Recent Geology of Cornwall by W.A.E.Ussher. It was first published in the Geological Magazine in 1879.
In a sense Mr Pengelly and Mr Peacock were both right. Mr Pengelly’s rather fanciful notion is correct inasmuch as it identifies the word as old Scandinavian. Mr Peacock’s words derive from this, presumably via Norman French. The word in question is the Old Norse haugr, which according to the OED means ‘mound’ or ‘cairn’. It has descendants or cognates in many languages including English, where it turns up as how, howe, hough, or houe. This means ‘a hill’ or ‘a mound’.
What you can see in the picture above is Maeshowe, a Neolithic chambered cairn on Mainland Orkney. It is mentioned in The Orkneyinga Saga, where it is called Orkhaugr – ‘great tomb’.