Deserted medieval settlement 650m north-east of Siblyback Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011317

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1993


Ordnance survey map of Deserted medieval settlement 650m north-east of Siblyback Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 09:43:41.


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 24062 72980


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. Over 30 deserted settlements retaining visible remains of medieval character are recorded on Bodmin Moor. Some of these are single abandoned farms but the majority are small hamlets containing between two and six farmhouses. Documentary evidence indicates that most of such settlements on the Moor were established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries AD. Although many of these settlements were deserted by the close of the medieval period, some were abandoned at a later period. Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small buildings, each containing a long house, its ancillary buildings and one or more adjacent small plots which served as kitchen gardens or stock pens. These components are arranged within the settlement around internal yards and trackways which led from the settlement to its associated fields, pasture and water supply. Occasionally such trackways show evidence for cobbling or paving. Long houses were the dominant type of farmhouse in upland settlements of south-west England between the 10th and 16th centuries. Rectangular in plan, usually with rubble or boulder outer walls and their long axis orientated downslope, the interiors of long houses were divided into two separate functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre, known in south-west England as a shippon. The proportions of the plan occupied by the domestic room and the shippon vary considerably but the division between the two was usually provided by a cross passage of timber screens or rubble walling running transversely through the long house, linking opposed openings in the long side walls. Ancillary buildings are generally separated from the farmhouse itself, or else appear as outshuts attached to the long house and often extending one end. These additional structures served as barns, fuel or equipment stores and occasionally contained ovens and corn-drying kilns. While many settlements in Cornwall are known from documentary sources to be of medieval origin, well- preserved deserted sites are rare. Consequently those on Bodmin Moor provide the main surviving source of evidence for the distinctive form and layout of Cornish medieval settlements.

This deserted medieval long-house settlement on Craddock Moor has survived well. Some overburden of cleared surface stone from the neighbouring fields and the modern hedgebank, affects only limited parts of the settlement's periphery and the walls survive intact beneath; only in minor sectors of the periphery does the clearance impinge on the walling itself. This settlement shows clearly its internal organisation and displays a diversity of ancillary structures. In its number of long-houses and ancillary buildings, this settlement is one of the four largest medieval deserted settlements on Bodmin Moor. The proximity of this monument to broadly contemporary field systems, with which the settlement's hollowed trackway provides a physical link, demonstrates well the nature of farming practices during the medieval period. The monument's proximity to the prehistoric settlements and field systems on Craddock Moor, partly re-used by this medieval settlement's field boundaries, provides good evidence for the development of domestic and agricultural organisation from the prehistoric to the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a deserted medieval settlement situated on the western side of a broad ridge extending north from the north-west edge of Craddock Moor on south-east Bodmin Moor. The deserted medieval settlement is visible as a discrete collection of largely turf-covered, drystone rubble walls within a sub-rectangular area measuring up to 55m NW-SE by 48m NE-SW, covering 0.16 hectares. The walls survive up to 2m wide and 1m high, though are generally about 1m wide and 0.5m high. Some coursed-rubble walling and edge-set facing slabs, up to 0.9m high, are exposed through the walls' turf cover. Within the settlement, the walls define the lower courses of at least three elongated rectangular farm-houses, of a type known as long-houses, and six smaller rectangular ancillary buildings, all of these structures having a WSW-ENE long axis, running directly downslope. The northern long-house is located across the centre of the settlement's northern half and measures 15m WSW-ENE by 3m wide internally. A 1m wide break in the long side-walls, 6m before the WSW end, marks the site of a cross-passage separating the domestic quarters at the higher, ENE end of the long-house, from the cattle byre or shippon at the lower WSW end. The domestic quarters are themselves subdivided by a cross-wall to give two rooms, each 3m wide; that at the ENE end is 3m long while the room to its west is 3.5m long. The latter room also has an entrance gap 1m wide in the east side of its northern wall. Two ancillary buildings are located to the north and two to the south of this northern long-house; one is situated 1m north of the long-house's domestic quarters and measures 9m by 4m internally; the other, at the northern edge of the settlement, is located 12m north-west of the long-house's cross-passage and measures 7m by 3m internally. South of the long-house, a long building measuring 13m by 3.5m internally is situated 1m beyond the southern wall of the long-house's domestic quarters, and extends 3m further east. Another ancillary building, measuring 7m by 3.5m internally, is similarly located south of the long-house's shippon. A second long-house is situated at the eastern edge of the settlement, centred 20m south-east of the northern long-house. It is constructed and subdivided in a similar manner to the northern long-house and measures 19m WSW-ENE by 3m wide. The surviving eastern wall of the cross passage is 6m before the WSW end and the domestic quarters are subdivided into two rooms, each 3m wide; the ENE room is 3.75m long, that to its west is 5m long. The third long-house is centred a further 25m to the south-west, along the southern edge of the settlement. Also of similar construction to the other two long-houses, it survives with total internal measurements of 23m WSW-ENE by 2.5m wide, however, the walling at both ends has been partly disrupted by recent clearance. The eastern wall of the cross-passage is 8.5m east of the WSW end, with gaps in the side walls indicating the cross-passage width of 1.3m. Within the domestic quarters of the long-house, at its ENE end, substantial side-walls, incorporating upright slabs up to 0.9m high, define a room 5m long in the western sector. However, to the east of this, slight surface traces of walling, confirmed on air photographs, indicate that the ENE end of the long-house formerly extended for a further 5m. Slight rubble walls of a sub-rectangular extension, 6m WSW-ENE by 3m wide internally, are built against, and centred on, the northern end of the cross-passage. Two further ancillary buildings are visible; a small structure, 3m square internally, is situated midway between the southern and eastern long-houses while a sub-rectangular building, 9m WSW-ENE by 4m wide internally, is situated 10m north-west of the southern long-house's shippon. The settlement also contains a turf-covered hollowed trackway, up to 5m wide and 0.3m deep, which enters the eastern edge of the settlement along the southern side of the eastern long-house, then curves north-west around the long-house's western end and terminates at the southern side of the northern long-house after passing between the two ancillary buildings immediately to its south. Beyond this monument, to the ENE, intermittent traces of this hollowed trackway survive beyond the settlement following a direct route over 50m to the narrow, downslope, end of a droveway between medieval field plots surviving beyond the modern limit of improved pasture. The surface appearance of the settlement shows the effects of more recent activity; some rubble cleared from the surrounding modern fields has been deposited over the medieval walling along the periphery of the settlement while a modern drystone field wall bisects the settlement on an ENE-WSW axis, overlying northern walls of the eastern long-house and the ancillary building to the north-west of the southern long-house. Beyond this monument, from 50m to the east, are extensive medieval field systems which are related by the hollowed trackway with the occupation of this deserted settlement and which themselves partly re-use the walling of the extensive prehistoric field systems and settlement sites on north-west Craddock Moor.

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: 15245

Legacy System: RSM


consulted 1993, Carter, A./Fletcher, M.J./RCHME, 1:2500 AP plots and field traces for SX 2472-3,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1241 & 1289,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1290,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1362,

End of official listing