Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system with incorporated stone hut circles 375m SSE of Sparretts Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008765

Date first listed: 07-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system with incorporated stone hut circles 375m SSE of Sparretts Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Cleer

National Grid Reference: SX 23801 71334


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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. Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have been employed in south-west England from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000 BC-AD 400). They comprise a collection of field plots, generally lacking conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They are often located around or near ceremonial and funerary monuments. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming practice over a long period. A substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

This irregular aggregate field system on the slope of Tregarrick Tor has survived well, preserving considerable evidence for its developmental sequence. The substantial lynchetting and hillwash deposits accumulated since its construction will preserve contemporary land surfaces and environmental deposits. The proximity of the monument to other broadly contemporary field systems, enclosures, hut circles, cairns and standing stones demonstrates well the organisation of land use and the nature of settlement and agricultural practices during the Bronze Age.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a well preserved Prehistoric irregular aggregate field system incorporating seven stone hut circles, situated on the lower north- western slope of Tregarrick Tor on SE Bodmin Moor. The monument is located near other broadly contemporary field systems, enclosures, hut circles, cairns and standing stones on the lower slopes of the Tour. The irregular aggregate field system survives over an area of 4.5 hectares between the 240m and 270m contour levels and comprises at least 25 field plots bounded by boulder and rubble walls, up to 2.5m wide and 0.8m high. Some sectors of the walling are formed entirely of large boulders arranged into a continuous line, while large end-set slabs up to 1m high, called orthostats, are also frequent in parts of the field system, especially near the eastern and NW edges of the monument. The downward movement of soil in the field plots due to the combined effects of Prehistoric cultivation and of gravity on this fairly steep hillside has produced a deep build-up of deposits masking the uphill side of many boundaries, with a corresponding erosion from their downhill sides. This process, called lynchetting, has altered the surface appearance of many of the boundaries running along the contour, accentuating their height to form a series of scarps, the lynchets, which generally rise to 1m high but reach a maximum of 1.75m high. The field plots range between 0.02 and 0.3 hectares in extent. They vary considerably in shape, incorporating both straight and curvilinear edges, but the overall pattern of the field system has a dominant group of at least six sinuous and lynchetted boundaries, 34-75m apart, which approximately follow the contour over distances of 75m - 190m. Most of the field plots are the result of straight or curving walls linking these dominant boundaries. Near the centre of the monument the junction between one of the lynchetted boundaries and a straight subdividing wall is marked by a very small oblong enclosure measuring 7.5m NE-SW by 5m NW-SE. It is boulder-walled with its NE end open to the field beyond, while the mid-point of its rounded SW end is marked by a massive vertical orthostat, 1.75m high and 0.6m square at its base. The two sub-circular plots, separated by a gap of 11.5m,, at the eastern edge of the monument appear an exception to the overall pattern, one plot straddling the alignment of one lynchetted boundary and the other forming an isolated plot to the east, but the incorporation of the western of these plots into the overall field wall network indicates their existence before that overall pattern was laid out. Several other details show that the surviving field system combines several phases of development within the Prehistoric period. This is evident where angles in some field walls have been replaced by walling cutting across the angle and where the stone content of some boundaries and of one hut circle is tumbled and partly removed on its approach to other later boundaries, particularly near the northern edge of the monument. In all such cases, the latest phase in the sequence comprises the lynchetted walling that dominates the surviving field system, and which was thus imposed on an earlier pattern which is only partially discernible. The Prehistoric date of this latest phase is affirmed by its respect for all but one of the hut circles and by the manner in which three of the lynchetted boundaries terminate on the outer walling of hut circles. However the north-western lynchetted boundary had been partly re-used during the medieval period. This resulted in a shallow ditch 1m wide and 0.1m deep, a typical feature of medieval field walls in south-western England, running alongside its NW edge over part of its SW sector. A double-faced stone wall, 1.75m wide and 0.7m high, also ditched, runs for 75m to the NW from the ditched portion of the lynchet. The seven hut circles are dispersed throughout the field system, only the two at the south-western edge of the monument being located on the same field's boundary wall. Apart from the hut circle located centrally within the early plot near the monument's eastern edge, all are also located on field boundaries. The hut circles survive with boulder and rubble walls up to 2.5m wide and 0.8m high, enclosing circular internal areas ranging 5m - 8m in diameter and levelled into the hillslope. Inner facing slabs line the walling of four hut circles, two of which also have outer facing slabs. Entrance gaps facing SW or SSW are visible in four hut circles, 0.5m wide and marked in three cases by orthostats to one or both sides. A hut circle at the south- western edge of the monument has a small sub-circular annexe of similar wall construction built against its western side. The hut circle partly robbed by the lynchetted boundary crossing its north-western side also has an adjoining field wall overlying and re-using its south-western sector of walling. The north-eastern part of its wall is visible only as a curved setting of boulders from which the rubble content has been removed in antiquity. All modern drystone walls, gates and post-and-wire fencing, the electricity supply poles, their fittings and cabling, are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them 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: 15122

Legacy System: RSM


consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2371,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2371 & SX 2471,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1251,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1251.06,

End of official listing