Three hut circles 280m south west of Rushyford Gate


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018627

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Oct-1998


Ordnance survey map of Three hut circles 280m south west of Rushyford Gate
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Cleer

National Grid Reference: SX 22328 75968, SX 22401 76018, SX 22425 76063


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. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The hut circles 280m south west of Rushyford Gate survive well despite limited excavation at the central example and the minor disturbance evident at the south western. The enclosure of the south western hut circle and the spaced transverse-slab walling at the north eastern are unusual features, while the internal modifications of the latter provide a good example of the reuse and development which occasionally affects prehistoric hut circles. Despite recent destruction of associated features in their close vicinity, those features were sufficiently well-recorded to enable the hut circles' contemporary setting to be understood, along with their role at an early stage in the complex sequence of prehistoric to post-medieval land use that has produced a very extensive survival of settlement, field system and funerary remains along the north east side of the Smallcoombe Downs.


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


The monument includes three well-spaced stone hut circles near the northern edge of Smallacoombe Downs on south east Bodmin Moor. The south western hut circle is contained within a small subrectangular prehistoric enclosure, while the north eastern contains remains of later internal structures. The scheduling is divided into three separate areas of protection. The hut circles form a north east-south west line across the Downs' gentle northern flank. The south western hut circle survives with a circular interior, 4.75m in diameter, defined by an earth and rubble bank generally 1m wide and to 0.2m high. It is located in the south east of a subrectangular prehistoric enclosure 21m long, east-west, by up to 14.5m wide internally, defined by a rubble bank up to 2.75m wide and 0.5m high with occasional traces of an inner facing; small breaks and hollows in the north and south banks derive from later activity, one such break resulting in a small mound of rubble pushed out from the western half of the south bank. The central hut circle in the line, 80m to the north east, has an ovoid interior approximately 8m east-west by 6.2m north-south; except on the south, it is defined by an earth and rubble bank to 1.2m wide and 0.4m high. On the south, an irregular hummocky rubble mound, 3m across and to 0.6m high, extends across and beyond the line of the hut circle bank; this mound is considered to comprise spoil from an excavation whose shallow rectangular trench, 1.5m wide, extends at least 2.5m NNW-SSE across the hut circle interior. A further 30m to the north east, the north eastern hut circle has an outer bank 10.5m in external diameter, to 1.25m wide and 0.3m high; its south eastern third has closely-spaced large edge-set slabs across the bank, with occasional similar slabs elsewhere. Within the interior so defined, later modification produced an inner bank, about 1m wide and 0.1m high with some small edge-set slabs, defining an innermost area 4.75m ENE-WSW by 4m NNW-SSE. The inner bank is centred slightly north of centre within the outer bank and a 1m wide break crosses both inner and outer banks on the north east. On the south, the 2m gap between the two banks contains a third feature: a hollow 1.2m in diameter, 0.1m deep and defined by a very slight rubble bank. Early records and aerial photographs show that these hut circles were formerly associated with boundaries of a discrete curvilinear field system on the surrounding slope and extending beyond this scheduling, along with at least two further hut circles to the north and north west; those features have been damaged or destroyed by subsequent forestry operations. In their wider context, these hut circles and their former associated features are in the north west of a zone of distinctive early prehistoric settlement over the north eastern flank of the Downs and comprising scattered hut circles, often similarly associated with small rounded enclosures or discrete aggregations of curvilinear field plots. Later in the prehistoric period, this settlement pattern influenced and became partly incorporated into an extensive regular rectilinear field system occupying much of the Smallcoombe Down's lower north eastern slope along the valley of the Withey Brook. That field system in turn was much later reused and modified as the basis for medieval exploitation of the lower valley side from the deserted villages above Trewortha Marsh and at Smallacoombe Parks.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 15535

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dudley, D, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Excavation News, 1962-3; Smallacombe & Trewortha Downs, , Vol. 2, (1963), 56
CAU , Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1017, (1990)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1017.04, (1990)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 1017, (1990)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 1017.02, (1990)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 1017.03, (1990)
Drawn to accompany EH Management Plan, Hooley, A D, 1:2500 Smallacoombe Downs survey plan on Ordnance Survey/ Landline Map base, (1998)
RAF, RAF vertical air photo: 36 TUD UK 137 part III, photo 5254, (1946)
RAF, RAF vertical air photo: 36 TUD UK 137 part III, photo 5254, (1946)
RAF, RAF vertical air photo; 36 TUD UK part III, photo 5254, (1946)
Saunders, A D, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 592, 1960,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 27 SW Source Date: 1984 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing