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Two pillow mounds 660m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of Merrivale Warren

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: Two pillow mounds 660m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of Merrivale Warren

List entry Number: 1014672

Location

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

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 20-May-1996

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24202

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 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. Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and 10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed. Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with the majority lying in the Plym Valley. Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in which the warrener lived. Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early 20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of protection.

The two pillow mounds 660m ENE of Merrivale Bridge form part of the nationally important Merrivale Warren and contain information relating to economy and land use as well as the exploitation of rabbits in the Walkham valley.

History

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

Details

This monument includes two pillow mounds situated on the gentle west facing slope of Over Tor overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. These mounds form part of Merrivale Warren, which includes at least 27 pillow mounds scattered along the lower slopes of Great Mis Tor, Little Mis Tor and Over Tor. It has been suggested that many of the pillow mounds within the Merrivale Warren may be of medieval date because of their unusual oval shape and association with a nearby medieval settlement. Most of the pillow mounds lie within the Merrivale Newtake, but some including these two, lie on open moorland just outside the intake wall. The southern pillow mound survives as a 30m long, 3.4m wide and 0.8m high, flat topped, oblong shaped mound of soil and stone surrounded on four sides by the 2m wide and 0.7m deep ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. The mound has seen limited damage as a result of two narrow trenches being cut across its width. These trenches may be the result of an early part excavation by an antiquarian who mistook this mound for a long cairn. The northern mound measures 7.5m long, 2m wide and 0.7m high, and its western end is denoted by a large earthfast boulder. The surrounding ditch is 1.5m wide and up to 0.3m deep.

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
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 82
Crossing, W, Crossing's Dartmoor Worker, (1992), 114
Linehan, C D, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Deserted Sites and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, (1966), 141-2
Linehan, C D, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Deserted Sites and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, (1966), 141-2
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-013, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1994)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NE29,

National Grid Reference: SX 55675 75181

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2017 at 03:42:59.

End of official listing