Stanlake Farmstead, 930m south west of Black Tor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1019586
Date first listed: 19-Feb-2001
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
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
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
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
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