Medieval settlement of Beere


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016216

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-1997


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement of Beere
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: North Tawton

National Grid Reference: SS 68819 03129


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the extensive south-west Peninsula sub-Province of the Northern and Western Province, an area climatically, culturally and physically distinct from the rest of England. It includes varying terrains, from the granite uplands, through rolling dissected plateaux to fertile clay lowlands in the east. While nucleated settlements are present, notably in the Devon Lowlands and throughout the South Hams, many originated as small towns, and a high proportion may be of later date. Excluding only the moorland masses, the sub-Province is characterised by medium and high densities of dispersed settlements; indeed, some of the former industrial areas had densities as high as any in the country.

The Taw and Torridge local region of north Devon includes two drainage basins. Agriculturally, it has been described as `indifferent' land, apt to be wet, but it is surrounded by regions with higher proportions of heathland, moorland and rough pasture, so that it is distinguishable on the basis of higher (medium to high) densities of dispersed farmsteads. Nucleations are present, often appearing as small market towns. The sites of a few deserted medieval hamlets have been recorded. Despite part excavation and extensive reuse of this area during the post medieval period, the remains of the medieval settlement at Beere survive comparatively well and contain archaeological and environmental information.


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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval settlement known as Beere lying to the north of North Tawton. The site is situated at the base of a valley, on the northern bank of a tributary to the River Yeo in an area covered with woodland and known as Stoneland Copse. At the eastern end of Stoneland Copse, above the course of the stream is a terraced bank which runs from east to west parallel to the stream, and which joins a field boundary running upslope to the eastern end of the site. This bank measures up to 1.7m wide and 2.1m high on the stream side and 0.6m high on the north or settlement side. To the north of this field boundary is a hollow way which measures 1.3m wide, 0.1m deep and runs parallel to the field boundary along the base of the settlement. Further north is a terraced platform which measures 6.1m wide and 0.4m high; it runs from east to west throughout the length of the copse. To the north of this terraced platform and at its eastern end there are a series of significant banks which indicate several tumbled walls. One feature is a part hut, barn or house, the southernmost wall of which curves out from the eastern field boundary in a westerly direction. This bank measures 3.8m wide and 0.8m to 1.2m high. It serves to define an inner area which measures 18m long by 14.4m wide. To the north, the building may be buried by naturally slumped material from a steep scarp which measures between 3m and 4m high. On the top of this scarp is a ditched field boundary which measures 0.6m wide and 0.4m high and appears to be an old boundary. Within the building at its western side there is evidence for a secondary structure which measures 6.6m long by 5.6m wide internally and is enclosed by banks which measure 1.4m wide and 0.5m high. There are two possible coarsed stone built drying ovens or hearths each of which measure 2.1m long, 1m wide and 0.3m deep. Central to the site is a massively built rectangular structure composed of stony banks and set into the platform which runs across the site. The structure measures 5.3m long from north to south and 3.9m wide from east to west. The banks measure up to 0.4m high internally and up to 1m high externally. To the north a hollow way runs from east to west parallel to the northern boundary, although the scarp on which this is sitting reduces in height towards the west. The hollow way measures 3.4m wide and up to 0.2m deep and runs from the building at the eastern end of the site to a quarry at the western end. This quarry is subrectangular in shape and measures 11.7m long and 8.4m wide overall. It is enclosed by banks and to the south these measure up to 2.8m wide and 1.2m high. To the north there is some coarsed walling which measures up to 0.7m wide and 0.5m high. In the western end of the feature there is a deeper pit which measures 4.4m long, 3.5m wide and up to 1.3m deep. This may be the quarry from which stone to construct the buildings was derived. At the western end of the site the ground surface appears levelled and may indicate an area used for horticultural purposes in the past. On the western side the monument is also defined by a ditched field boundary. The site was partly excavated in 1938.

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: 30320

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jope, E M, Threlfall, R I, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Excavation Of A Medieval Settlement At Beere, North Tawton,Devon, , Vol. 2, (1958), 112-40

End of official listing