Foale's Arrishes, huts and fields, Blackslade Down

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1003283

Date first listed: 13-May-1952

Map

Ordnance survey map of Foale's Arrishes, huts and fields, Blackslade Down
© 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: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 73714 75962

Summary

Prehistoric settlement, enclosures and field system at Foale's Arrishes.

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; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. 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. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite partial excavation, the prehistoric settlement, enclosures and field system at Foale's Arrishes survive very well and are amongst the most visually impressive on the moor. The field system in particular is well preserved and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to occupation and use of this area during the prehistoric period. This monument represents a small part of the largest coaxial field system on Dartmoor. The evidence for pre-coaxial field enclosures is particularly significant and enhances the importance of the monument.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 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 known as Foales Arrishes includes a stone hut circle settlement with enclosures standing within coaxial fields situated on the gentle south-east facing slopes of Pil and Top Tors. The monument is partly overlain by a post-medieval field. The settlement includes at least eight dispersed stone hut circles associated with earlier and later coaxial fields. The earliest enclosures survive within the southern part of the monument as low rubble banks set on a different alignment to the later coaxial fields. The coaxial field system includes at least six fields arranged on a single prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. The coaxial fields form a small part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system, some of which is the subject of separate schedulings. The stone hut circles survive as circular walls surrounding an internal area and their internal diameters range between 5.5m and 9.5m. All eight buildings were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896 and their work revealed paved flooring and cooking holes, together with rubbing stones, flints, pottery and charcoal.

Further archaeological remains including coaxial fields, prehistoric settlements and cairns survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some are separately designated whilst others have not been formally assessed.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: DV 262

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume One - The East , (1991), 57-59
Other
PastScape Monument No: 445116

End of official listing