Prehistoric linear boundary and field system, medieval enclosure and tin miners' caches 1.06km north-west of Wardbrook Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1015975
Date first listed: 07-Aug-1992
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SX 24678 73939
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. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone
banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called
orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high,
although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000-
700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes
along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from
that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of
land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set
aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently
linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field
system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social
organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the
existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived
are considered worthy of preservation.
Enclosures are discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters. Enclosures were constructed from Bronze Age (c.2000 - 700 BC) onwards and many can be dated by their form, associations and surface features of the land enclosed. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably, depending on their function and date. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the diversity of farming practices at various stages in the development of land use on the Moor. The Prehistoric linear boundary and adjacent medieval enclosure on the Langstone Downs have survived well, the only disturbance comprising minor breaks in the boundary due to later activity. The relationship within the monument between the Prehistoric and medieval structures illustrates well the changes in land use across that time-span. In addition, the close proximity of the monument to other Prehistoric and medieval settlement sites and field systems demonstrates the nature of social organisation and land use during the Bronze Age and medieval periods respectively.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a Prehistoric linear boundary with a medieval enclosure
adjacent to its lower end. The enclosure encompasses part of a Prehistoric
field system and has two small medieval tin miners' caches built adjacent to
its wall. The monument is situated near other Prehistoric linear boundaries,
field systems and cairns on the western slope of the Langstone Downs on SE
Bodmin Moor. Several medieval settlements are situated on the opposite side of
the Withey Brook valley, while the valley floor has been subject to extensive
The Prehistoric linear boundary survives as a wall of heaped rubble, up to
1.75m wide and 0.6m high, extending for 267m across the western slope of the
Downs. The wall incorporates occasional edge-set facing slabs against one or
both sides, and several sections include end-set slabs, called orthostats,
which project above the general level of the wall rubble. The surviving
western 15m of the boundary has been partly cleared of its smaller stone
content for the construction of the medieval enclosure wall 6m to its west.
This also resulted in some of the boundary's debris being pushed aside to form
a curved heap avoided by a recess in the later enclosure wall. From its
western end at the 295m contour level, the boundary adopts a general ENE
course for 167m, almost directly uphill to the 320m contour level, but
incorporating many minor curving irregularities which also characterise the
other linear boundaries on the same slope beyond this monument. From the 320m
level, the boundary undergoes an angular direction change to the SE, which it
maintains throughout its eastern 100m, ending 25m north of another similar
boundary at the 330m contour level. The boundary has three minor breaks due to
later activity. A break 7m wide, 87m from its western end, and a break 3m
wide, 82m from its eastern end, are each caused by tin and copper miners'
water courses, called leats, passing through the boundary; the former
dating to the mid-19th century, the latter originating in the medieval period.
A break 11.5m wide is centred 26m from the boundary's eastern end where the
trackbed of a mid-19th century mineral railway passes through.
The medieval enclosure adjacent to the boundary's western end survives with an
earth-and-rubble wall, up to 1.5m wide and 0.75m high, defining a
sub-rectangular area measuring 112m NE-SW by 105m NW-SE. The wall shows facing
by roughly coursed rubble on both sides, with facing slabs in its lower
courses. Traces of an outer ditch, up to 1m wide and 0.3m deep, are visible
along the enclosure's north-eastern and north-western sides. A small ancillary
structure is built against the outer side of the enclosure's north-western
wall. This comprises a slighter wall of similar construction, 0.75m wide and
0.5m high, defining a rectangular internal area of 6m NE-SW by 5m NW-SE.
Within the enclosure are the partly cleared traces of a Prehistoric field
system. This survives as two low rubble banks, 1.5m wide and 0.3m high,
running 12m apart downslope, NE-SW, across the centre of the enclosure; only
the northern of these banks reaches the enclosure's south-western wall and
curves to the south, along the contour, on its approach. These banks are
joined in their courses by two short, incomplete lengths of cross-bank running
along the contour. The cross-banks and the southerly curving bank are all
masked on their uphill sides by deep soil deposits brought downhill under the
combined effects of Prehistoric cultivation and gravity on the hillslope, a
process called lynchetting. Prehistoric stone clearance within the enclosure
and the partial clearance of the field system during the medieval period has
produced three clearance cairns, mounds of heaped rubble, up to 8m long, 5m
wide and 0.75m high. This Prehistoric field system is part of a larger field
system whose field plots and boundaries survive extensively beyond the
monument across much of the western slope of the Langstone Downs and of which
the linear boundary in this monument forms a part.
The lower courses of two small rectangular buildings typical of medieval tin
miners stores, or caches, are situated adjacent to two points along the
enclosure wall. One is situated within its eastern corner angle and survives
with walling of roughly coursed rubble, 0.7m wide and 0.3m high, enclosing an
internal area 1.8m NW-SE by 1.2m NE-SW, open-ended to the NW. The other cache
is more neatly constructed with rough facing slabs and is built against the
enclosure's outer side, in a step in its south-western wall. This survives to
a height of 0.4m and measures internally 1.6m east-west by 1.3m north-south,
open to the east. Both of these caches are in typically hidden locations close
to the extensive medieval tin-streaming remains located along the floor of the
Withey Brook to the west.
The trackbed surface of the 19th century mineral railway is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath it 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: 15134
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 316-8
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 155-174
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 301-2
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2473,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2473 & SX 2474,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A/RCHME, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1274 & 1275,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1215;1216;1217,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1398 (NW wall) & 1287,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1428 (part + unmapped extension),
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1274/1288/1465+1464 (=not a stone row),
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN1288/1428 part/1464+1465=not a stone row,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1274,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1286.2,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1286.3,
Qualification consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1264,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SX 242728; SX 241740; SX 238747
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