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Large stone hut circle settlement, an irregular aggregate field system, post-medieval farmstead and associated remains east of Raddick Lane

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Large stone hut circle settlement, an irregular aggregate field system, post-medieval farmstead and associated remains east of Raddick Lane

List entry Number: 1009084

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 13-Nov-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22380

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

In addition to the stone hut circle settlement, the monument includes an irregular aggregate field system. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the Dartmoor 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 (about 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 practices over a long period. A substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The northern edge of the monument is denoted by a contour reave which separates the lower land from the upland prehistoric grazing zones. Reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher Moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Towards the eastern end of the reave lies a round cairn. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (about 2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south western Britain. The monument was also a focus for occupation in the post-medieval period, when Roundy Farmstead was occupied. Of more than 600 post-medieval farmsteads recorded on Dartmoor, around 100 are now deserted. Although some of these were established as late as the 18th and 19th centuries, many have their origin as medieval settlements, some perhaps dating back to as early as the 11th century. Those founded in the post- medieval period represent a time in which arable farming increased in popularity on the Moor, resulting in a large number of new farms being built on previously unenclosed moorland. Many of these farms were abandoned after a relatively short time and provide rare examples of planned single period farmsteads. Most deserted post-medieval farmsteads survive as single farmhouses associated with a variety of outbuildings, including: ash houses, barns, cow houses, dairies, hulls, stables, linhays, shippons, cartsheds, dog kennels and lavatories. Other features commonly found with farmsteads include gardens and a farmyard which acted as a focal point for many farming activities. In most cases, deserted post-medieval farmsteads are associated with contemporary field systems, many of which still remain in use for grazing or cultivation. Deserted post-medieval farmsteads will provide information about the developing character of agricultural exploitation within an upland landscape during the historic period, and reflect a response to changing environmental and economic conditions. Surviving examples are relatively rare away from the moorland areas in south west England, and consequently those on Dartmoor provide a major source of evidence for this type of site. Despite limited damage as a result of post-medieval agriculture and more recent forestation, the large stone hut circle settlement, irregular aggregate field system, contour reave and cairn east of Raddick Lane survive well and together with a large number of nearby broadly contemporary settlements, provide an important insight into occupation, funerary and farming practices during the prehistoric period. The cairn lies on the interface between the lower land and upland grazing zone and may contain information concerning the different activities carried out within these areas. Information concerning the post-medieval agriculture and settlement of this area also survives well, and together with the earlier evidence provides a contrasting picture of exploitation of the same area in different periods.

History

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

Details

This monument includes the majority of a large stone hut circle settlement, an irregular aggregate field system, a length of contour reave, a round cairn, an historic farmstead, two associated caches and a field system, all situated on a south east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. An outlying part of the stone hut circle settlement, and a contemporary round cairn, are situated a short distance to the west. These are the subject of separate schedulings. This part of the stone hut circle settlement includes 42 stone hut circles composed of stone and earth banks surrounding circular internal areas. These huts are dispersed throughout the irregular aggregate field system. Four of the huts are oval in shape and their interiors vary in area from 8 sq m to 18 sq m. The remaining huts are circular in plan and the internal diameters of these buildings vary from 1.5m to 6.7m, with the average being 4.44m . The height of all the walls varies between 0.25m and 0.9m, with the average being 0.63m. The interiors of the circular huts vary in area from 1.77 sq m to 35.23 sq m. Fourteen of the huts have visible doorways, 12 are conjoined, four have identifiable internal partitions and 27 are attached to contemporary boundary walls. The irregular aggregate field system includes at least 13 field plots defined by rubble walls, many of which are lynchetted. These walls vary considerably in character, but average 1.5m wide and 0.5m high. A post-medieval field system overlies the earlier irregular aggregate field system and in may places fossilises its original character. The stone hut circle settlement and associated field system are separated from the higher slopes by a contour reave. A 210m length of this reave survives and is included within the monument. The western length of the reave lies below a later post-medieval drystone wall and survives as a spread and lynchetted rubble bank measuring 3m wide and 0.4m high. The eastern length lies in open moorland, survives as a rubble bank with an average width of 3m and stands up to 0.8m high. This reave appears to be contemporary with the settlement and was constructed to denote the boundary between the lowland and upland grazing zones. The eastern length of the reave terminates near to a round cairn, which measures 5.5m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. A hollow in the centre of the mound suggests partial early excavation or robbing. The cairn appears to partly overlie the reave, although this may be the result of slippage over the years. Two possible post-medieval caches built into the interiors of earlier stone hut circles survive within the settlement. The first of these lies at SX7687033 and survives as a rubble walled rectangular structure with internal dimensions of 2.5m long by 1.3m wide. The second cache lies at SX57757033 and survives as a small `D'-shaped drystone wall surrounding an area measuring 2m long by 1.5m wide. These structures were probably constructed primarily for storing tools, although they may have been used occasionally as shelters against inclement weather. Roundy farmstead is situated in the eastern part of the monument and lies within a large sub-circular enclosure. The farmhouse is terraced into the hillslope and survives as a two roomed rectangular building defined by a 0.7m wide drystone wall standing up to 2.6m high. The upper room measures 5.1m long by 3.9m wide and is separated by a rubble partition wall from the lower room which is 3.9m long and 3.3m wide. Opposed doorways in the long walls of the building are visible within the lower room, although the east-facing example is now blocked. This doorway gave access to a small structure which had been excavated into the hillside and now survives as a 0.7m deep drystone lined pit with interior dimensions of 2.44m long by 1.37m wide. This structure has been identified as the base of a stairwell. The west-facing doorway leads onto a stone revetted passage giving access to the farmyard. This passage would have provided cover against the prevailing westerly winds. It has been suggested that this building was originally a medieval long house, and the surviving evidence including the opposed entrances, shape and orientation of the building relative to the prevailing slope, would certainly support this identification. Much of the standing fabric, however, probably dates to the later part of the 17th century, and evidence to support this assertion is provided by the door lintel stone which bears the letters RC and the date 1668. This stone can no longer be seen at the farm as it was subsequently removed to Burrator. It has been suggested also that the initials RC are those of Richard Crymes, whose family were long seated at Crapstone, in Buckland Monachorum, and to which the manor was granted at the Dissolution. A barn or shippon is attached to the lower side of the farmhouse and survives as a single roomed rectangular building defined by drystone walling, standing up to 1.3m high. The interior of this structure measures 7.62m long by 3.05m wide, the doorway faces west and leads directly into the farmyard. A short distance east of this barn is a rectangular stone lined hollow, which measures 8.8m long by 2.2m wide and up to 1.5m deep at the northern end. This structure is open at its southern end, where it meets the hollow way leading towards the farmstead. This feature is probably a root crop storage facility, similar to the hulls found at most farms in the vicinity, except that this one is only partially subterranean. The hollow way leading to the farmstead is 2.6m wide and 1m deep. It is defined on the northern side by a drystone revetment and on the south by a 1.2m wide and 0.7m high drystone wall. The eastern end of the hollow way is blocked by a 0.9m wide and 1m high drystone wall. Two garden areas have been identified within the farmstead. The first lies immediately west of the farmhouse, is irregular in shape and has maximum dimensions of 11.9m long by 8.54m wide. The second garden lies east of the barn and measures 11.28m long by 8.54m wide. In recent years small temporary stone shelters have been constructed within this garden. A third garden belonging to the farm lies 70m NNW of the farmstead and was constructed within an abandoned stone hut circle, whose walls were heightened to provide additional protection against the wind. Immediately west of the farmyard is a small open sided rectangular structure, with internal dimensions of 2.1m long by 1.37m wide, defined by a drystone wall standing up to 1m high. This may be an outside lavatory or dog kennel. A short distance west, lies a rectangular building composed of large granite boulders. The walls measure 1m wide and up to 1.1m high and clearly denote a two roomed structure with substantial openings in both short sides. The eastern room measures 7.32m long by 2.44m wide and the western one is 5.79m long by 2.44m wide. The precise function of this building is not known, but it may have provided additional storage space or an undercover work area. The earliest published reference to this site is a 1609 presentment respecting the forest, which refers to this part of the moor, and speaks of `certayne howses that had been erected here and of land that had been enclosed.' The date at which this site was abandoned is not known with certainty, though the Tithe Apportionment Map of 1839 shows the buildings still to be roofed, although by the early 20th century, when Crossing was visiting the area, the site was deserted.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 100
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 153
Linehan, C D, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Deserted Sites On Dartmoor, , Vol. 97, (1965), 175
Other
Burnard, R, Dartmoor Pictorial Records, (1894)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE103, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE131, (1986)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
Haynes, R.G., Ruined Sites on Dartmoor - Middleworth, 1966, Unpublished Manuscript
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

National Grid Reference: SX 57769 70227

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2017 at 12:39:11.

End of official listing