Medieval tenement boundary with adjacent medieval field north of Dinnever Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Breward
National Grid Reference:
SX 12349 79868

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time.

The relatively unintensive post-medieval land use of upland areas has allowed the preservation of a diverse range of settlement, field system and boundary types dating to the medieval period and mostly from the post-Conquest period (AD 1066-1540). Such remains include medieval tenement boundaries, commonly formed as embanked ditches which served both to define the edges of the private arable and pasture land pertaining to the parent settlement and to deter stock from neighbouring tenements or common pasture from wandering onto that private land. Beyond the blocks of arable fields and stock yards situated close to the settlement site, the higher moorland enclosed by such boundaries was often devoted largely to grazing, though sometimes traces of cultivation ridges are visible, especially on slopes with favourable southern aspects, often reflecting short-term or intermittent episodes of cultivation. Such areas of cultivation ridges may be unenclosed or enclosed by earthen banks and ditches. These medieval remains also form an important element of the existing landscape, providing information on the organisation of medieval farming and settlement, its expansion onto the uplands, and forming evidence for the successive changes in land use that have affected the Moor. This medieval boundary on the spur between Dinnever and Louden Hills has survived well, the presence of its adjacent field plot showing well the care given by the medieval farmers on the moorland edge to the aspect and slope of their land. Together with the southern sector on Dinnever Hill, which is not included in this scheduling, this boundary provides an unusually complete example of a medieval moorland-edge tenement block whose deserted settlement and inner field block also survive intact beyond the monument to the south-west.


The monument includes a medieval ditched boundary bank which extends along the south-west edge of a broad spur between Dinnever and Louden Hills on north-west Bodmin Moor. A small, broadly contemporary, field plot containing cultivation ridges abuts part of the south-west side of the boundary. This boundary forms the northern sector of a more extensive medieval boundary system which, beyond this monument, also encompasses most of the north-western slopes of Dinnever Hill. These boundaries are considered to define a major portion of the outer boundary of the medieval tenement of East Rowden, whose deserted settlement survives on the lower western slope of Dinnever Hill. The ditch beside the north-western end of this boundary was re-used as a hollowed routeway, called a hollow way, during the later medieval or post-medieval periods. The medieval boundary survives as a turf-covered bank of earth and rubble, up to 2.5m wide and 0.3m high, accompanied along its north-east side by a ditch, generally 1.5m wide and 0.5m deep, but rising to 2.5m wide and 0.7m deep where it was re-used for the hollow way at its north-west end. The boundary survives over 270m following a NW-SE course in a shallow `S'-shaped curve along the south-east margin of the spur. At its south-east end, the boundary terminates at the northern edge of a broad marshy area bordering a stream; at its north-west end the boundary fades as a visible feature at the lower edge of the spur's slope, on the edge of a low-lying marsh adjoining another stream-course. Where the boundary descends the spur's north-west slope, its ditch has been enlarged to the dimensions given above to form the western of a series of parallel linear hollow ways which cross the slope, marking rutted tracks used in the later medieval and post-medieval periods to link the moorland tenements and pasture with the lower coastal belt of north-west Cornwall. The medieval field plot adjoins the south-western side of the boundary near its south-east end, occupying a favourable SSW aspect of the spur's slope. The plot extends south-west from the boundary almost to the marsh-edge, encompassing a sub-rectangular area of 0.38ha and measuring a maximum 85m WNW- ESE by 50m NNE-SSW. It is defined by a slight earthen bank, up to 1.2m wide and 0.15m high, running north-south along its western side, but its remaining sides lack any boundary features, defined only by the ends and sides of its contained cultivation ridges. The surface of the plot is marked by traces of the cultivation ridges, visible as a contiguous area of low, parallel earthen ridges, up to 2m wide, 0.1m high and 45m long, running on a NNE-SSW axis. Beyond the monument, the tenement boundary reappears 120m SSE of the south-east end of this monument, on the opposite side of the marsh and stream-bed, then continues for a further 1.18km along the northern and western slopes of Dinnever Hill, returning at its south-west end to the edge of the inner field block of the deserted East Rowden settlement 1.25km to the south-west.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


consulted 1993, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots and field traces for SX 1179; SX 1279-80,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots and field traces for SX 1179; SX 1279-80,
consulted 1993, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots for SX 1179; SX 1279-80,
consulted 1993, CAU, 1:1000 Bodmin Moor Survey plans for SX 1279 NW; SX 1280 SW, (1984)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1990,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1990.1,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3350,


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

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