Enclosure and hut circles at junction of Blatchford Bottom and River Erme
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002608
Date first listed: 05-Jun-1972
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Hams (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 63551 63820
A partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement with later tinner’s shelter 75m north east of the confluence of the Bledge Brook and River Erme.
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.
Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.
Shelters are small rectangular or oval buildings which provided temporary accommodation for a variety of moorland workers. Some were occupied seasonally and formed habitation for months at a time, whilst others were only used during work hours as shelters from inclement weather. Some probably had more than a single function, with parts of the structure being utilised for storage. The shelters vary considerably in size, but on average have internal dimensions of 4.8m long by 2.7m wide, and most were built of drystone walling. A single building tradition appears to have been used by the different groups of workers who constructed shelters. Many shelters were constructed on virgin sites, but a significant number were built within earlier ruined structures such as prehistoric stone hut circles and medieval long houses. The function of each shelter can generally be ascertained by its proximity to other archaeological features. Shelters found within or close to tin works are generally considered to have been built and occupied by tinners. Shelters are relatively common on the Moor and together as a group they are considered to form a major source of archaeological information concerning historic activity on the open moorland.
Despite reduction in the heights of the walls of some of the stone hut circles and the enclosure which probably happened during the construction and use of the tinner’s shelter the partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement with later tinner’s shelter 75m north east of the confluence of the Bledge Brook and River Erme survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to construction, use, development, subsequent re-use, domestic arrangements and agricultural practices throughout the settlement and its landscape context over time. This indicates the important palimpsest of activity on the moor, as economic, social, and climatic conditions changed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 November 2015. This 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 with later tinner’s shelter situated to the east of the confluence between the Blatchford Brook and River Erme. The settlement survives as an oval enclosure defined by a strongly constructed up to 2m wide and 0.7m high partially double faced wall which contains a series of courts and pounds around its internal perimeter and at least two stone hut circles. A further hut is appended on the outside edge to the west together with a small rectangular tinner’s shelter. The ruinous banks of two further hut circles lie to the south west. At the eastern end is an external freestanding hut circle.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 810
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993)
PastScape Monument No:-442190
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