Deserted medieval building 55m south of Roughtor summit


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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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 14550 80734

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, Roughtor. 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 building.

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 1992, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots for SX 1480-1,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3382,
p.486; SX 27 SW No.18, CAU/EH, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. An evaluation for the MPP., (1990)
Quinnell, N.V./RCHME, 1:1000 Survey Plan of Roughtor, (1986)


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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