Prehistoric coaxial field system, incorporated and adjacent hut circles, stone setting, linear boundaries and medieval settlement on Fox Tor and Treburland Farm


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)
National Grid Reference:
SX 22958 78720

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.

Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the Moor landscape. Coaxial field systems are one of several methods of land division employed during the Bronze Age; evidence from nearby Dartmoor, where they are more common, indicates their introduction in about 1700 BC and their continued use until about 1000 BC. They consist of linear stone banks forming parallel boundaries running upslope to meet similar boundaries which run along the contours of higher slopes, thereby separating the lower enclosed fields from the open grazing grounds of the higher Moor. The long strips formed by the parallel boundaries may be subdivided by cross-banks to form a series of rectangular field plots, each sharing a common long axis. Coaxial field systems frequently incorporate discrete areas subdivided by other forms of field system and various enclosures, some of which may be shown to have been laid out prior to the construction of the coaxial system. Regular aggregate field systems are one such form, comprising a collection of field plots defined by boundaries laid out in a consistent manner and meeting at approximate right angles to each other. Enclosures are discrete plots of land defined by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop-growing. The size and form of enclosures varies considerably depending on their particular function. Broadly contemporary occupation sites comprising stone hut circles, sometimes grouped to form settlements, may be found both within and beyond coaxial field systems. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor and consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. Hut circle settlements may be contained within a broadly contemporary field system or may be entirely unenclosed, in the open, or may be wholly or partly enclosed by a bank of earth and rubble. Linear boundaries, consisting of stone banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs and end-set slabs, called orthostats, served to articulate the landscape during the Bronze Age, variously dividing territories, separating settlement or cultivated land from areas set aside for ceremonial and religious purposes, or separating cultivated land from areas less intensively used. Coaxial field systems and hut circle settlements may also incorporate earlier or broadly contemporary ritual and funerary monuments, of which the various known forms of prehistoric ritual stone setting are one example. These are a diverse group of monuments incorporating elements present in other types of prehistoric ritual and funerary site, notably including arrangements of standing stones and cairns. Five such monuments have been identified on Bodmin Moor, of which three are located close to other prehistoric ritual monuments. The reuse of parts of some coaxial field systems and their adjoining areas during the medieval (c.AD 400 - 1540) and post-medieval periods may result in a variety of earthworks and structures of these later dates overlying the prehistoric monuments. Such later activity is often agricultural, resulting in cultivation ridging, field boundaries and routeways, together sometimes with remains of farm buildings that serviced this activity. Long houses are one of several distinctive forms of medieval farmhouse. Rectangular in plan, usually with boulder and rubble outer walls, their interior was divided, often by a cross-passage, into an upslope domestic area and a downslope stock byre, known as a shippon in south west England. Long houses may be accompanied by ancillary structures, often serving as fuel stores or occasionally containing ovens or corn-drying kilns. Long houses can date from the 10th - 11th centuries AD, though their main period of construction was during the later 12th - 15th centuries AD. They may occur singly or grouped to form villages, and may be related to the various types of field system and enclosure current in the medieval period. Bodmin Moor contains almost all of the deserted medieval settlements with above-ground remains in Cornwall; of these, only 12 retain their complete or near complete medieval field systems of various types. One form characteristic of the higher moor in south west England is cultivation ridging unbounded by an visible peripheral enclosure. Prehistoric and medieval settlements and field systems provide important information on the nature of settlement organisation, social structure and farming activity during their respective periods, while their relationship to other monument types, including linear boundaries and ritual monuments, provides evidence for the wider organisation of land use among their communities. This monument on Treburland Farm and Fox Tor contains both a prehistoric coaxial field system and an adjacent medieval settlement with its complete cultivation area that survive well. Each preserves a range of features - settlement sites, field patterns or cultivation areas and trackways - demonstrating the nature of land use and farming activities in their respective periods. The monument's adjacent prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement, linear boundaries and coaxial field system show clearly the diverse nature of settlement among prehistoric communities. The proximity of the monument to the wealth of broadly contemporary ritual and funerary sites of East Moor shows the wider context of prehistoric land use organisation in which the monument functioned and which the linear boundaries articulated. This proximity is emphasised by the occurrence within the monument of one such ritual monument, the stone setting. The medieval reuse for cultivation of the areas of prehistoric unenclosed settlement and the coaxial field system, and visible survival of that evidence to the present day, demonstrates the nature of land-use change since the prehistoric period. The medieval long house settlement on Fox Tor provides a rare example of a historically recorded deserted medieval settlement which has survived complete with its unenclosed area of cultivation ridging, and associated trackways, bounded largely by natural features. Archaeologically the monument is unusally well-documented, its entire area having been subject to recent detailed air and ground survey, and the neighbouring areas of East Moor having undergone extensive environmental sampling during the 1970's.


The monument includes a prehistoric coaxial field system on Treburland Farm and adjacent prehistoric and medieval settlements on Fox Tor, eastern Bodmin Moor. The coaxial field system incorporated a stone hut circle settlement, an adjacent enclosure and four other, dispersed, hut circles. Adjacent to the coaxial field system, on eastern Fox Tor, the monument includes an unenclosed hut circle settlement of at least 17 hut circles, within which is a prehistoric ritual stone setting. A major prehistoric linear boundary crosses Fox Tor from the south east, delimiting the unenclosed settlement, and an adjoining linear boundary runs north east through the settlement. Beside the south east end of the major linear boundary is a deserted medieval settlement containing two long houses and an ancillary building, complete with broadly contemporary trackways and unenclosed cultivation ridging on eastern Fox Tor. Medieval cultivation ridging and trackways are visible in parts of the prehistoric coaxial field system on Treburland Farm. Post-medieval features in the monument include a water-course crossing the northern sector of the coaxial field system, three peat stack platforms and a scatter of small Second World War bomb craters. The prehistoric coaxial field system on Treburland Farm forms a western sector of the overall East Moor coaxial field system, which is visible over 2.9km along the entire north east periphery of East Moor, including two major breaks due to recent enclosure and clearance. This monument includes only the sector visible between those two breaks, the other surviving parts being included in other monuments. The coaxial field system survives as a series of near-parallel rubble walls, up to 110m apart, sharing a NE-SW axis and running downslope from a WNW-ESE terminal boundary crossing their south west ends, now preserved by the line of the modern moor-edge hedgebank of Treburland Farm and by a medieval ditched bank for a further 178m to the WNW. This field system's walls survive up to 1.5m wide and 0.5m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs, called orthostats, up to 0.7m high. The sector of coaxial system contained in this monument is one of several parts of the East Moor system infilled by a regular field system. This area of regular field infill contains at least 15 rectilinear field plots, of 0.13ha - 0.5ha each, defined by cross-walls linking the coaxial boundaries at right-angles. Additional coaxial walls create two prehistoric trackways, 7.5m - 15m wide and 130m apart, through the central sector of the regular system. The south eastern trackway approaches the terminal boundary from a settlement containing six stone hut circles spaced 6m-22m apart over 0.3ha. The hut circles survive with heaped rubble walls, up to 2m wide and 0.6m high, defining levelled, circular internal areas ranging from 3.5m to 8.2m in diameter. Most of their walls incorporate inner and outer facing slabs. Entrance gaps are visible in four hut circles, variously facing north east, south east or south west. The two smallest hut circles adjoin the north east wall of a circular enclosure within the settlement and measuring 17m internally, defined by a rubble wall, up to 2.5m wide and 0.9m high, with a 1.6m wide entrance gap on the north west side. This part of the coaxial system contains a further four hut circles, similarly constructed, dispersed 12m-50m apart in its south eastern sector. They range from 4m to 8m in internal diameter with entrances visible in two, facing north east and south east respectively. Beyond the terminal boundary of the coaxial system - the present moor edge - the unenclosed hut circle settlement extends over 5ha of the north east slope of Fox Tor, containing at least 17 hut circles, spaced 6m - 130m apart. The hut circles are similarly constructed to those in the coaxial system but several in this settlement's eastern sector have been partly robbed of stone during medieval cultivation. These hut circles range from 4.5m to 9m in diameter, though only two exceed 6.5m. Within the overall settlement, three loose groupings are apparent; a WNW-ESE linear group of seven hut circles, 6m- 75m apart over 230m of its north east edge; a curved line of five hut circles, 6m - 52m apart over 140m along its southern edge; and a nucleated group of five hut circles, 20m - 22m apart, at its western edge. Only the nucleated group has associated rubble walling, linking four of the five hut circles and forming two small plots, of 0.01ha and 0.03ha, to their immediate west. The unenclosed settlement is divided from an extensive area of broadly contemporary ritual and funerary monuments on the remainder of Fox Tor and East Moor by a major prehistoric linear boundary running south east in an almost straight line for 285m from near the summit of Fox Tor. The boundary survives as a wall of heaped rubble, up to 4m wide and 0.5m high, incorporating laid slabs up to 1m long and projecting orthostats up to 0.8m high. Over its south eastern stretch, its character changes to a rubble bank rising to the tops of the orthostats, due to medieval refurbishment, as it passes the deserted medieval settlement. A second prehistoric linear boundary runs north east from 31m below the upper end of the major boundary, dividing the isolated dispersed hut circles of the unenclosed settlement from those with associated walling. This boundary is visible as a rubble wall, up to 2m wide and 0.4m high, with occasional facing slabs, surviving continuously for 243m, beyond which its line is disrupted by medieval clearance but is visible as a row of occasional orthostats on the same alignment towards the present moor edge. The prehistoric stone setting is situated among the southern group of hut circles of the unenclosed settlement. It is visible as a slight oval cairn of heaped rubble measuring 7m NW-SE by 5.5m NE-SW and 0.1m high, with peripheral slabs, up to 1m wide and 0.2m high, 0.6m - 0.8m apart along its south and north east edges. A slender slab, 2.5m long, lies along its northern edge. The cairn supports two large erect, end-set slabs. One, 2m wide, 0.25m thick and 1m high projects from the centre of the cairn, while the other, 0.9m wide, 0.4m thick and 1.1m high is situated 1.4m to the north west near the cairn's edge. Two smaller slabs, up to 0.3m high, are located 0.6m north of the latter erect slab. A stock-trampled hollow, 4.75m east-west by 2.5m north- south, against the southern side of the erect slabs' bases, exposes the cairn's rubble. The deserted medieval settlement is situated near the foot of the ESE slope of Fox Tor. It contains two long rectangular farmhouses situated 40m apart on a NE-SW axis, each of a distinctive type called a long house. Both are built on levelled platforms, cut 0.5m into the slope on their uphill edges. That to the north east survives with rubble walling and edge-set slabs, up to 1m wide and 0.8m high, defining an internal area measuring 11m NW-SE, downslope, by 4m wide. Opposed gaps, 3m wide, near the centre of the long walls mark the cross-passage dividing the upper domestic quarters from the lower cattle byre. The other long house, similarly constructed and orientated, measures 9m NW-SE by 4.5m wide, with edge-set wall slabs surviving to 0.6m high. An ancillary building, 3m north of the latter long house, survives as a levelled platform measuring 3m NW-SE by 4m wide, with slab-built walling up to 0.6m high revetting its north western levelling scarp. Besides its visible features, this settlement has been identified with the 'Foxetorre' settlement recorded in a document dated 1327 AD. Between the settlement and the moor-edge, the slope of Fox Tor contains the cultivation ridging pertaining to the settlement, lacking a perimeter boundary as is characteristic of such high moorland medieval settlements, but bounded to the east by Redmoor Marsh and to the west by dense uncleared scree on the upper and northern slopes of Fox Tor. The ridging measures 2m-3m from crest to crest and up to 0.2m high, extending over 13ha. It is predominantly on a WNW-ESE axis but in the north west is a discrete rectangular block of 2.5ha on a NNE-SSW axis. Two broadly contemporary trackways pass through the ridging, linking the settlement and East Moor with the moor-edge. One runs NNE-SSW along the centre of the monument and is 2m-20m wide, defined to each side for much of its length by an earthen bank, up to 1.5m wide and 0.3m high, with an inner ditch up to 1m wide and 0.1m deep. The other track, a shallow hollow 3m-8m wide, keeps close to the edge of Redmoor Marsh at the east of the monument. Both tracks are joined, beyond the moor edge, by groups of hollowed tracks running through the coaxial system from off the moor. Further medieval cultivation ridging, on a NNE-SSW axis, is present within the area of the coaxial system, clearly reusing the prehistoric walling for subdivision. Post-medieval features within the monument include the modern hedgebanks of Treburland Farm, a water-course, called a leat, up to 2m wide, crossing the northern surviving sector of the prehistoric coaxial system to supply water to Tregune Farm to the west. Three peat stack platforms, where cut peat was stored, are located along the monument's south east edge beside Redmoor Marsh, and a scatter of small Second World War bomb craters are dispersed across the monument on both sides of the present moor edge. All post-and-wire fences, the Tregune Farm leat and its adjacent clearance debris from 1m-2m wide, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included.

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 plot and field trace for SX 2278,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plot and field trace for SX 2378,
consulted 1992, Carter, A./CAU/RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots and field traces for SX 2278-9 & SX 2378-9,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1056.07 & .14,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.01,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.02,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.03,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.04,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.06,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.08,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.09,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.10,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.11,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.12,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1056.13,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1087,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1087.05,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1087.06,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1087.07,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1098.01,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1099,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1114,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1137,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1138,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 12082,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 12749,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR for PRN 1137.1,
consulted 4/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1136,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map, sheet SX 27, First Series Source Date: 1905 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
told on 8/5/1992, Information told to MPPFW by Mrs Smith, Treburland Farm, (1992)


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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