Medieval settlement, site of quadrangular castle and relict garden between Ilton Farm and Ilton Castle Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019947.pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 18-Jun-2021 at 03:55:19.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- South Hams (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 72409 40303, SX 72677 40467
Reasons for Designation
Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the extensive south-west Peninsula sub-Province of the
Northern and Western Province, an area climatically, culturally and physically
distinct from the rest of England. It includes varying terrains, from the
granite uplands, through rolling dissected plateaux to fertile clay lowlands
in the east. Nucleated settlements are present, notably in the Devon
Lowlands and throughout the South Hams. Many of these originated as small
towns, whilst a high proportion may be late foundations. Excluding only the
moorland masses, the sub-Province is characterised by medium and high
densities of dispersed settlements; indeed, some of the former industrial
areas had densities as high as any in the country.
Despite some damage to its earthworks, the medieval settlement between Ilton Farm and Ilton Castle Farm is well-preserved and will retain important features relating to the development and use of the site. Stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive in the terraces, banks, hollow ways and building platforms of the site and will be of importance to the future understanding of the monument. Quadrangular castles are fortified residences, dating from the late 13th to 15th century, with most examples belonging to the 14th century. They were constructed with high stone walls and towers, enclosing domestic quarters of high status. The earthwork remains of the quadrangular castle at Ilton, licenced in 1335, are of importance in an area where few such sites exist. Stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive, and will be significant in understanding this and other similar sites. The placing of ponds to the south of the castle, forming a mock moat, and the location of a terraced formal garden around the castle, make this an unusual survival.
The monument, which falls into two areas of protection divided by a road,
includes relict earthworks of a deserted medieval settlement, a quadrangular
medieval castle, a surrounding garden of post-medieval date and two fishponds.
It lies on both sides of a shallow valley, which drains into the Kingsbridge
estuary, 850m to the east.
The settlement, which lies in the western part of the monument, is in two
parts. The western part lies in a field at the head of the valley, south of
Ilton Farm, where the gently sloping ground around two springs contains
earthworks of at least 13 small rectangular buildings. These are partly
terraced into the hillside and partly raised on low platforms. They measure
from 7m to 10m long, from 3.5m to 7m wide, and are terraced or raised up to 1m
high. The eastern part lies on the north side of the valley, east of Ilton
Farm, where several earthwork platforms are arranged along the slope.
At least three sites of small rectangular buildings survive among them, with a
hollow way towards the west, which runs south towards a small cob threshing
barn on the opposite side of the stream. The hollow way measures 28m long, 5m
wide and 1m deep. Cultivation terraces along the north and south sides of the
monument measure up to 2.5m high and from 5m to 10m wide. Several 18th
century watermeadow leats cut across the earthworks, with a rectangular pond
serving one of them; this measures 22m long and 10m wide.
A medieval quadrangular castle was licenced to Sir John de Cheverston in 1335
and stood on a terrace towards the eastern end of the monument. The terrace
measures 30m from east to west and 25m from north to south. A description,
made when the castle walls were demolished in 1780, states that it was
sub-rectangular with square towers at the corners. Slight earthworks show the
positions of the towers and parchmarks confirm its location.
Earthwork terraces of an extensive formal garden climb the valley side to the
east, west and north of the castle. There are two lines of terraces, lying
side by side. To the west are six narrow terraces, measuring 20m wide and
from 0.7m to 1.2m high, followed by four terraces of varying width, the
largest and lowest measuring 32m wide and 25m long, immediately west of the
castle site. The second terrace continues across the rear of the castle, 105m
to the end of the site, and measures 14m wide and up to 2m high. The upper
terrace is 8m wide, up to 1.5m high, and continues for 125m, the full length
of the gardens. It has a short double stepped terrace at its west end, 33m
long and 0.8m high. Traces of post-medieval hedgebanks cross the site in
South of the castle and the west end of the garden, are the sites of two large
sub-rectangular fish ponds, the western of which measures 42m long by 28m wide
and 0.5m deep. A large heavy earthwork dam at its east end is 8m wide,
falling 2.5m to the site of the second pond, which is now buried beneath
modern farm buildings and a farmyard. It measures approximately 22m long and
25m wide with the remains of a low dam at its west end, 6m wide and surviving
up to 0.5m high. The two ponds were used as an ornamental lake, creating the
impression of a moat in front of the castle.
The modern farm buildings and road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included. Also excluded is the water main
running north-south across the monument as well as the land immediately above
and to either side. The ground beneath is, however, included in the
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Prideaux Fox, S , Kingsbridge Estuary, (1864)
Copeland, G W, Transactions of the Plymouth Institute, (1949)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
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