Settlement on Wigford Down S of Durance
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002523
Date first listed: 21-Dec-1960
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 54912 65326
Partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, part of the Wigford Down coaxial field system and medieval field system 430m SSE of Durance.
Reasons for Designation
Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites sometimes in the form of enclosed or partially enclosed hut circle settlements and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans.
The partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, part of the Wigford Down coaxial field system and medieval field system 430m SSE of Durance, survives well and demonstrates clearly the longevity of the reaves by their subsequent reuse in medieval times. Additionally important during the medieval period are the links with Buckland Abbey, since the monasteries were an important agricultural and social factor undergoing significant turbulence in the historic period.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 4 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement contained within part of the Wigford Down coaxial field system which forms the basis of a medieval field system. It is situated on the northern slopes of Wigford Down overlooking the valley of the Lovaton Brook. The partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement lies within and is partly enclosed by small rectangular fields of varying size which form part of the much larger Wigford Down coaxial field system. These survive as stone banks and lynchets. There are five standing stone hut circles defined by double orthostatic or rubble bank walls which vary in size internally from 4m to 8m in diameter, at least two more have been identified from aerial photographs as cropmarks and survive as buried features. Three of the hut circles are surrounded by small enclosures, the others are freestanding. Several medieval field boundaries have incorporated the reaves. To the east the prehistoric boundaries survive most clearly, further west they have been re-used in the medieval period and appear as ditched banks. All these features are situated within the newtake of Durance Farm and in the medieval period formed part of the Buckland Abbey estate.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of the monument, but these are not included within the scheduling because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 436
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
PastScape Monument No:-439087 and 439088
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing