Deserted medieval site NW of Okehampton camp
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1004602
Date first listed: 28-May-1974
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Okehampton Hamlets
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 58205 93230
Deserted medieval settlement in Okehampton Park, 200m south west of Moor Cottage.
Reasons for Designation
Over 130 deserted settlements retaining visible remains of medieval character are recorded on Dartmoor. Many of these are single abandoned farmsteads. Documentary evidence indicates that most such settlements on the Moor were established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries AD. Although many of these settlements were deserted by the close of the medieval period, some were abandoned at a later period. Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small buildings, with 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.
The deserted medieval settlement in Okehampton Park, 200m south west of Moor Cottage forms part of a very well preserved, dispersed group of broadly contemporary settlements complete with their original field systems. The creation of the deep park has fossilised their development in the late 13th century and together they provide an invaluable insight into medieval life. This settlement survives well, with boundary banks and rubble walls achieving a reasonable height. The presence of worked stone within the building is indicative of an important structure. The banks, buried ditches, structures and enclosed areas will all contain significant archaeological information concerning the construction, use, occupation and relationship to its surrounding environment.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 October 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 two conjoined enclosures and the remains of a building, situated close to the summit of a north-facing ridge forming the southern valley side of the West Okement River.
The larger enclosure lies to the south and survives as an irregular shaped area measuring up to 102m long by 42m wide, defined by a substantial bank with construction ditch measuring up to 12m wide. This enclosure is subdivided by a low earthwork bank next to which are the remains of a building surviving as a series of rubble built banks up to 1.8m wide defining a structure measuring up to 21.6m long and 16.9m wide. Within the building, pieces of dressed stone are visible which may have originally formed part of a window or door. The smaller enclosure conjoins the larger to the north and east. Its northern boundary is defined by a sinuous bank, which widens at the eastern end. The overall length of this bank is up to 72m and it varies in width from 1.8m up to 4m.
This settlement forms part of a dispersed group of broadly contemporary settlements situated within an area known as Okehampton Park. At least eight settlements are known to have existed in the demesne land cleared to create Okehampton Park by Hugh de Courtenay in around 1300. Excavation during the 1970’s at one settlement suggests that they were established during the first half of the 12th century. The tithe map shows the larger enclosure and marks it as a ‘hospital’, whilst the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map depicts this as the site of a chapel. Traditionally, it has also been described as an Hermitage.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 22
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Austin, D et al., “Farms and fields in Okehampton Park, Devon: the problems of studying medieval landscape”, Landscape History, 2 (1980), 39-58.
Austin, D., “Excavations in Okehampton Deer Park, Devon 1976-1978”, Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings, 36 (1978), 191-239.
PastScape Monument No:- 440846 and 1388145
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