Stanlake Farmstead, 930m south west of Black Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019586

Date first listed: 19-Feb-2001


Ordnance survey map of Stanlake Farmstead, 930m south west of Black Tor
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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: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56975 70929


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 provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, 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. Over 130 deserted settlements retaining visible remains of medieval character are recorded on Dartmoor. Many of these are single abandoned farmsteads but the majority are small hamlets containing between two and six farmhouses. Documentary evidence indicates that most such settlements on the Moor were established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries AD. Although many of these settlements were deserted by the close of the medieval period, some where abandoned at a later period. Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small buildings, each containing a long house, its ancillary buildings and one or more adjacent small plots which served as kitchen gardens or stock pens. These components are arranged within the settlement around internal yards and trackways which led from the settlement to its associated fields, pasture and water supply. Occasionally such trackways show evidence for cobbling or paving. Long houses were the dominant type of farmhouse in upland settlements of south-west England between the 10th and 16th centuries. Rectangular in plan, usually with rubble or boulder outer walls and their long axis orientated downslope, the interiors of long houses were divided into two separate functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre, known in south-west England as a shippon. The proportions of the plan occupied by the domestic room and the shippon vary considerably but the division between the two was usually provided by a cross passage of timber screens or rubble walling running transversely through the long house, linking opposed openings in the long side walls. Ancillary buildings were generally separated from the farmhouse itself, or else constructed as outshuts attached to the long house and often extending one end. These additional structures served as barns, fuel or equipment stores and occasionally contained ovens and corn-drying kilns. While many settlements in Devon are known from documentary sources to be of medieval origin, well- preserved deserted sites are rare. Consequently, those on Dartmoor provide the main surviving source of evidence for the distinctive form and layout of medieval settlements in Devon.

Despite limited clearance work during the 20th century, Stanlake Farmstead 930m south west of Black Tor survives well and contains archaeological, architectural and environmental information relating to over 600 years of intensive occupation, much of which is well documented.


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


The monument includes an historic farmstead situated on a gentle east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. The earliest components of the site are two longhouses built across the prevailing slope. Both survive as rectangular earthworks to which later structures have been added. The northern longhouse sits within a substantial scoop and measures 14.5m long by 4.3m wide. A later outbuilding of drystone construction occupies the western half of this longhouse. The southern longhouse measures 16m by 4.4m and at its western end are two clearly defined recesses which represent cupboards. Two rectangular earthworks on the southern side of the building and another to the east probably represent outshuts. The two longhouses were replaced by two other dwelling houses in the early post-medieval period. The eastern of these survives as a rectangular structure measuring 8.6m by 4.4m internally and is defined by drystone walls standing up to 1.9m high. The presence of a round stairwell built within the north west corner and a substantial fireplace within the western wall confirm its domestic status. The interior of this building is filled with loose rubble, but appears to be on two separate levels. The western part of the building lies on a platform above the remainder of the interior. The edge between the parts is denoted by a 0.6m high drystone revetment which leads to the western edge of the doorway. It is not known whether this revetment represents an original division or whether it was added when the building was later converted to a barn. The doorway into this house faces south and had a porch or wind break. The second early post-medieval dwelling measures 7.8m by 4.6m and is defined by a drystone wall standing up to 1.4m high. A fireplace built into the western wall survives as a 0.9m wide and 0.65m deep recess denoted on the northern side by a substantial 0.8m high orthostat. Both of the early post-medieval farmhouses were replaced by a more substantial building of 19th century date. This building was levelled sometime between 1952 and 1967, although slight earthworks still denote its position. A range of small buildings survive within the farmstead and these represent the sites of barns and sheds of post-medieval date. Towards the eastern edge of the farmstead are a group of at least seven upright stones. These are staddle stones on top of which a hay rick would have been built. The stones were designed to keep the hay or straw off the ground, keeping it dry and reducing the opportunities for rodents to infest it. At least eight enclosed yards or gardens survive within the farmstead. Some of these are denoted by substantial banks, clearly designed to control livestock. A leat leading from the nearby Devonport Leat would have supplied water to the settlement through much of the 19th century. In earlier times water may have been collected from the nearby stream. The earliest documentary reference to Stanlake is in 1281 and from this time onwards there are numerous references up until the 1920s when the settlement was abandoned. The documentation indicates that for much of this time there were two separate farms with different land holdings sharing the same farmstead.

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: 24105

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 14
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 9
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 15
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 13
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 10
Gerrard, S, 'Meavy Valley Archaeology - Site Report No. 2' in Stanlake Farmstead, , Vol. 2, (1997), 11

End of official listing