Deserted medieval site N of Okehampton camp

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002630

Date first listed: 20-Mar-1975

Map

Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval site N of Okehampton camp
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Okehampton Hamlets

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 58561 93294

Summary

A deserted medieval settlement 230m south-east of Moor Cottage.

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 provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, 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. Over 130 deserted medieval settlements are known on Dartmoor. Many of these are single abandoned farmsteads but the majority are small hamlets containing between two and six farmhouses. Documentary evidence indicates that most such settlements were established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries. Many of these were deserted by the close of the medieval period, possibly as a result of the Black Death or climatic changes, some where abandoned at a later period. Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small buildings, each containing a long house, its ancillary buildings and one or more adjacent small plots which served as kitchen gardens or stock pens. These components are arranged within the settlement around internal yards and trackways which led from the settlement to its associated fields, pasture and water supply. Long houses were the dominant type of farmhouse in upland settlements of south-west England. Rectangular in plan, usually with rubble or boulder outer walls and their long axis orientated down slope, the interiors of long houses were divided into two separate functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre. The division between the two was usually provided by a cross passage of timber screens or rubble walling running transversely through the long house, linking opposed openings in the long side walls. Ancillary buildings were generally separated from the farmhouse itself. These additional structures served as barns, fuel or equipment stores and occasionally contained ovens and corn-drying kilns. While many settlements in Devon are known from documentary sources to be of medieval origin, well- preserved deserted sites are rare. Consequently, those on Dartmoor provide the main surviving source of evidence for the distinctive form and layout of medieval settlements in Devon. The deserted medieval settlement 230m south east of Moor Cottage survives well with boundary banks and rubble walls achieving a reasonable height. The buildings, banks, structures and enclosed areas will all contain significant archaeological and environmental information concerning the construction, use, occupation, development, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, abandonment and landscape context of the settlement.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 13 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.

This monument includes a deserted medieval settlement situated on the upper north western slopes of East Hill overlooking the valley of the West Okement River. The settlement survives as a grouping of at least eight long houses with their associated hollow ways, gardens, pounds and boundary banks. All of the surviving long houses have the characteristic opposed entrances in their long walls and at least three have cross walls. Five are grouped to the south of a hollow way and a further single long house is situated within a small enclosure with a second enclosure attached. Surviving walls and banks survive to a height of at least 0.5m. Several of the pounds are rounded in shape. Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity of this monument.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 904

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
PastScape Monument No:-1388147

End of official listing