Earthworks on Brent Tor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003199
Date first listed: 19-Aug-1977
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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 47097 80392
Slight univallate hillfort at Brent Tor.
Reasons for Designation
Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Despite being disturbed by later re-use as the boundary for a small church, the slight univallate hillfort at Brent Tor survives comparatively well as an extremely notable landmark because of its location and shape. For this reason the location was probably as much for territorial significance and display than it was for defence alone. The enclosures within the hillfort itself are of unknown date, but clearly indicate the long held significance of this site through time and its phases of re-use. The hillfort will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to all of these functions, its construction and use and significance to the surrounding landscape through time.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 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 slight univallate hillfort situated around base of the natural hill known as Brent Tor. The hillfort survives as a rampart and ditch which surround the naturally steep and rocky knoll. The rampart is a large bank of up to 4.5m high externally. The surrounding ditch is partially buried and tends to peter out where the natural defences of the hill are steeper. Within the enclosed area there are two further parallel banks and to the north of the church which occupies the summit there are a series of the three banked enclosures of uncertain date or function. The hillfort is crossed by numerous tracks leading to the church. Henry III granted the Abbot of Tavistock the right to hold an annual three day fair at Brent Tor church in 1232.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 988
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:-438139
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