Medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019604

Date first listed: 19-Feb-2001


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Ashburton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 74308 73962


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.

The medieval farmstead 340m south east of Cold East Cross survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the exploitation of this area during the medieval period. The farmstead lies within the nationally important Rippon Tor coaxial field system and therefore provides a contrast to the earlier more intensive use of this area.


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


The monument includes a medieval farmstead situated on a gentle east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Ashburn. The farmstead includes at least four rectangular buildings. The southern building is a longhouse, although unusually it is built along the contour. The interior of this building measures 15m long by 4.6m wide and is denoted by earthwork banks standing up to 0.8m high. This building is terraced into the hillslope and a gap in the eastern wall probably represents the site of an original entrance. Attached to the northern side of the longhouse is a rectangular structure measuring 8m long by 4m wide. This is also terraced into the hillside and like all the smaller ancillary buildings was probably a barn. East of this structure is a slightly larger building measuring 10m long by 4.2m wide, while a short distance to the north is the final ancillary building which survives as a 6m long by 3m wide rectangular hollow defined on the south by a bank.

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: 34424

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX77SW94, (1983)

End of official listing