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.
A diverse range of deserted buildings of medieval date (c.AD 400-1550) occur
on the Moor as individual structures, not in close physical association with
broadly contemporary settlement sites. Where their function has been
ascertained, such buildings usually fall into one of two classes associated
with the pastoral economy, herdsman's huts and moorland barns, including
fodder or equipment stores or animal pens. Of the 76 such medieval buildings
recorded on Bodmin Moor whose features permit classification, only three fall
outside these categories. Two of the three are considered to be limited
survivals of formerly larger medieval settlements, while the third is
considered to be an ancillary building to the medieval St Michael's Chapel,
The proximity of this deserted medieval building on Roughtor to the remains of
St Michael's Chapel, the only surviving hilltop chapel on Bodmin Moor, shows
well the structural organisation of religious activity in this remote and
inhospitable terrain. This building has not been excavated and in its visible
ground plan, location and ecclesiastical associations, it is unparalleled on
Bodmin Moor. As part of the wider group of broadly contemporary religious
monuments on Roughtor, this monument demonstrates the important relationship
between religious activity and the topography in the medieval period.
The monument includes a deserted medieval building situated on a small natural
terrace which extends south from the base of the summit outcrop of Roughtor on
north-west Bodmin Moor.
The building survives with walls of coursed, unmortared granite rubble, 0.7m
thick and surviving up to 0.9m high. The outer walls define an internal area
measuring 5.5m north-south by 3m east-west with an entrance gap, 0.75m wide,
located at the centre of the east wall. An internal wall extends 2m west from
the southern end of the entrance, subdividing the interior in two unequal
parts linked by a doorway gap, 0.75m wide, against the west wall. Largely
turf-covered tumbled blocks from the building's superstructure lie within its
interior and along the wall's outer faces.
This monument is located 55m south of the remains of the historically recorded
Chapel of St Michael, Roughtor, on top of the summit outcrop of Roughtor. This
deserted medieval building, within sight of the chapel on the nearest piece of
flat ground to it, is considered to have performed an ancillary function for
the broadly contemporary chapel.
The distinctive hill of Roughtor forms a focus for a small group of medieval
religious monuments. Beyond this monument, in addition to the remains of St
Michael's Chapel on Roughtor summit, the Roughtor holy well is situated 390m
NNE of this building, while a small cairn with a roughly-formed cross slab on
its east side marks a medieval grave located 280m to the north, on the upper
north-western slope of Roughtor. The summit of Roughtor and its surrounding
moors also contain numerous, extensive and prominent Neolithic and Bronze Age
settlement, ritual and funerary monuments, clearly visible from this medieval
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.