Peat stack platform 650m north-west of Bowhayland Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1011881
Date first listed: 18-Jul-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 26-Feb-1993
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish: North Hill
National Grid Reference: SX 23474 77649
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.
Peat stack platforms are the sites where cut peat was stacked after drying and prior to removal for use off the Moor. Peat stack platforms were constructed from at least the 14th to the 19th centuries, the tradition surviving in a very few localities to the mid 20th century. They survive as low grassy central platforms, usually sub-rectangular but occasionally ovoid or circular, defined by a shallow ditch and surrounded by a low earthen, or occasionally rubble, bank. They generally range up to 6m by 4m in external size though rare examples up to 11m long have been recorded. They usually occur in loose clusters around the peat sources such as bogs and peat-capped hills, though some are isolated. Excavations on peat stack platforms have produced fragments of medieval and later pottery, together with well-preserved old land surfaces beneath the central platform, rich in environmental evidence, particularly pollen, due to their disposition on peat soils. Observed relationships with medieval cultivation ridges, which in some cases cut the edges of the peat platforms and in others are cut by them, confirm the medieval origin of the tradition of their construction, related to peat-cutting rights for which documentary evidence survives for the Cornish moors from the early 14th century. The peat stacked on these platforms was an important store of fuel for domestic purposes and is historically recorded as the main fuel employed by the medieval Cornish tin smelting industry, whose needs had outstripped the local supplies by the mid 15th century. Over 950 peat stack platforms have been recorded on Bodmin Moor, with much smaller numbers known on the Lizard peninsula and on Dartmoor. They are an important surviving element of both the domestic and industrial economies of the uplands during the medieval and post-medieval periods. Those examples which survive well and illustrate the range of forms and situations are considered worthy of protection.
This peat stack platform near Watery Marsh has survived well without any recorded or visible disturbance. It is unusual in its overall size, its rubble outer bank and its relative isolation from other platforms. Its buried peat profile, due to its situation at the edge of the deep peat bog of Watery Marsh, will retain environmental evidence bearing on the landscape development of the surrounding area, of importance in understanding the extensive Prehistoric and medieval monuments which are located there. Its proximity to the abandoned medieval field systems and the post-medieval water-course demonstrates well the nature and organisation of land use in this upland marsh terrain, and its development since the medieval period.
The monument includes a large peat stack platform of medieval to post-medieval
date situated near the northern end of the Watery Marsh peat bog on East Moor
on eastern Bodmin Moor.
The peat stack platform survives with a turf-covered, sub-rectangular central
platform measuring 3.6m NW-SE by 2.25m NE-SW, whose shallow convex surface
rises up to 0.2m above the natural ground level. The central platform is
surrounded by a ditch, 0.75m wide and 0.3m deep, outside which is a largely
turf-covered wall of heaped rubble, up to 1.5m wide, 0.5m high and measuring
externally 8m NW-SE by 6.1m NE-SW.
Beyond this monument a ditched boundary marking the northern limit of medieval
cultivation on this part of East Moor is located 72m to the south, while the
upper end of a post-medieval water-course passes 10m to the west.
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: 15196
Legacy System: RSM
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1141,
Consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 12091,
Consulted 3/1992, Quinnell, N V/RCHME, 1:2500 AP Supplementary Field Trace for SX 2377,
Mercer, R J, AM7 scheduling description for CO 880, 1972,
Shepherd, P A, FMW report for CO 880, (1982)
Title: 25": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map: Cornwall SX 2377-2477 Source Date: 1952 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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