Bull's Paradise and Giants Graves; a settlement and burial ground on Lundy


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Bull's Paradise and Giants Graves; a settlement and burial ground on Lundy
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Torridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 13641 44201

Reasons for Designation

Lundy is a small, steep sided island in the Bristol Channel, 16m north of Hartland Point, north Devon. Aligned north-south, it is 6km long by 1km wide and supports a predominately moorland vegetation. The 100m high cliffs and tabular form give it a striking appearance, visible in clear weather from parts of south west England and south Wales. Lundy's remoteness and (until the 19th century construction of the Beach Road) its inaccessibility, combined with a lack of shelter and cultivable soils, has meant that it has escaped more recent occupation or development. It therefore preserves a remarkable variety of archaeological sites from early prehistory (c.8000 BC) onwards, representing evidence for habitation, fortification, farming and industry. There are also archaeological remains in the waters surrounding the island - over 150 shipwrecks are already recorded. Most of the island's archaeology is well documented from detailed survey in the 1980s and 1990s.

The settlement at Bull's Paradise has been described as a small ringwork although little is known of its structural detail. The area has been interpreted as the manorial centre of the island and as such is of significance in understanding its historical development during the medieval period. Part excavation and geophysical survey of this area have demonstrated the quality of surviving remains.


The monument includes earthwork remains of a chapel, a cemetery, a medieval defended homestead and a medieval midden contained in two enclosed paddocks to the west of Barton Cottages and Manor Farm north and west of the present village, on Lundy. The larger area, known as Bull's Paradise, has been partly excavated and subject to geophysical survey, revealing remains of a defended medieval homestead. To the east is a smaller paddock containing further remains including an additional part of the homestead. Further remains to the south east of Bull's Paradise are now covered or levelled by the construction of the Manor Farm buildings and related structures. It is uncertain to what extent the remains survive in this area and so it is not included in the scheduling. The south side of the field, called Bull's Paradise, contains evidence for a possible timber chapel and graves dating from the late 13th century to the 17th century. Pottery and a coin of Edward II found on the site have confirmed this date range. The site was probably in use when the farm now called Manor Farm became the primary settlement on the island. Also in this southern area and now mostly under the farm buildings is the site of the `Giants Graves'. These were uncovered and reported on in the mid-19th century. Glass beads survive as evidence for a ninth century burial here and red pottery reported but now lost may have been Samian ware. One of the capstones from this burial site now rests outside the tavern and a pillow stone is in the porch of the church. The defended medieval homestead is believed, from excavation, to have been a strong stone building with an outer ditch and internal yard, dating from the mid-12th century to its deliberate destruction in the mid-13th century. This may then have been replaced by the construction of Marisco Castle. In the area of the cemetery a midden has been identified of 13th-17th century date. This was later dug through for the deposition of further burials. A large grass covered mound on the west side of Bull's Paradise has been shown by trial excavation in 1971 to be a mass of tumbled stone and building material relating to another, as yet undated, homestead. A number of features within the area are excluded from the scheduling; these are the walls on the south, west and east of Bull's Paradise, the walls around the smaller paddock on the east side and two oil tanks built into the south west corner of the smaller paddock, together with their retaining wall; the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

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Books and journals
Nowakowski, J A, Thomas, C, Grave News from Tintagel, (1992)
Thackray, C, The National Trust Archaeological Survey, (1989)


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

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