Four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019214

Date first listed: 09-Feb-2001

Map

Ordnance survey map of Four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Chagford

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 67039 84174, SX 67063 84129, SX 67095 84036, SX 67096 83979

Summary

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 an 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. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall are amongst the most visually impressive on Dartmoor. With walls standing up to 1.8m high the true scale and impressive character of Bronze Age domestic architecture can be easily appreciated.

History

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

Details

The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four substantial stone hut circles and associated boundary walls situated on a gentle north west facing slope overlooking Fernworthy Reservoir. The stone hut circles survive as circular walls each surrounding an internal area which varies from 45 sq m to 57 sq m. The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 1.1m and 1.8m. Two of the huts have visible doorways and one has a porch. The northernmost hut is attached to parallel walls leading downslope from the building. This feature would have acted as a passageway allowing unhindered access to lower parts of the valley. From the hut at NGR SX 67078403 an orthostatic wall with rubble infill measuring 1.8m wide by 0.6m high, leads east for over 50m. The two northernmost huts were excavated between 1934 and 1936 by Worth. In the northern hut he found that the floor had been previously disturbed and artefacts were limited to a few flint flakes. In the second excavated hut a flint spear head, a hammer stone and a few sherds of Bronze Age pottery were found. A 1.5m wide, gravel covered path known as Potter's Way cuts through part of the monument. The surface of this path is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground below 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28752

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 155
Other
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1999)

End of official listing