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Prehistoric and historic archaeological landscape at Trowlesworthy Warren

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Prehistoric and historic archaeological landscape at Trowlesworthy Warren

List entry Number: 1020323

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 08-Oct-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 09-May-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24232

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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. The prehistoric and historic archaeological landscape at Trowlesworthy Warren represents a complex array of interrelated structures and features belonging to the three main periods of upland exploitation. The medieval and post- medieval field system is most extensive, but within the area is also the well- preserved evidence for prehistoric settlement, agriculture and funerary practice. In the post-medieval period, a series of pillow mounds forming part of a warren, lengths of leat, a dam, a gravel pit, tin streamwork and military features highlight the continued use of this area.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a complex prehistoric and historic archaeological landscape situated within Trowlesworthy Warren which lies between the River Plym, Blacka Brook and Spanish Lake. The prehistoric archaeology includes an extensive stone hut circle settlement complex, a ring cairn and several clearance cairns. The medieval archaeology includes a field system bounded by a cornditch, and the post-medieval remains include a field system, pillow mounds, vermin traps and animal runs forming part of a warren, clearance cairns, a rectangular building, a dam, leats, gravel pit and areas of alluvial streamworks. Together these buildings and structures form a complex multi- period archaeological landscape representing the three major periods of intensive activity on Dartmoor. The stone hut circle settlement complex extends over much of the monument and includes at least 19 enclosures and 37 stone hut circles. There are two discreet settlement concentrations, one lies to the north west of Trowlesworthy Farm and the other to the south east. The north western group of enclosures and stone hut circles includes two agglomerated enclosures and a simple one. The prehistoric settlement south east of Trowlesworthy Warren House includes one agglomerated enclosure and eight simple ones. Scattered amongst the enclosures and huts are at least nine small clearance cairns. These cairns may be of historic date, but their appearance and proximity to Bronze Age features suggests that they are more likely to be prehistoric. The remaining features of prehistoric date lying within the monument are a ring cairn and two enclosures. The ring cairn survives as a 1.4m wide circular bank of edge set stones and soil standing up to 0.5m high, surrounding an internal area measuring 14.5m in diameter. The cairn has been bisected by a cornditch forming part the medieval field system associated with Trowlesworthy Farm, and the eastern half of the cairn lies within a droveroad. Surrounding Trowlesworthy Farm are a range of field boundaries, some of which must belong to the medieval farm. The most obvious medieval boundary is the cornditch which forms the outer edge of the monument on the southern and western sides. This survives as a large bank revetted on the outer side, beyond which is the ditch. Along the eastern side a length of the cornditch between SX57216466 and SX57306443 has been reused by the Lee Moor China Clay Leat. Another certain medieval feature is a funnel formed by two banks which leads from the open moorland at SX56956487 to Trowlesworthy Farm. This feature would have been built to allow animals to be driven to and from the Moor without them passing through the fields. A number of field boundaries lying within the monument were undoubtedly used during the medieval period but because some are reused prehistoric ones and others may not have been built until the post-medieval period, it is difficult without further work to establish precisely which ones formed the medieval field system. The medieval field system developed into the one used during the post-medieval period. Over half of the post-medieval field system associated with Trowlesworthy Farm is included within this monument and most of this lies to the south east of the farmstead outside the present infield. Cartographic research has graphically illustrated the changing field patterns from 1842 onwards. The general picture that emerges is of the fields east and south east of the farmstead being abandoned whilst two new ones were constructed to the north west. The nearest new field to the north west is particularly interesting because when it was first laid out between 1842 and 1904 its southern side respected an earlier prehistoric enclosure. However sometime in the period after this, the enclosure wall was removed and presumably rebuilt into the new extended field. Rabbit farming was also an important activity within this area during the post-medieval period and part of Trowlesworthy Warren lies within this monument. The boundaries of Trowlesworthy Warren, which includes around 64 pillow mounds and 40 vermin traps scattered along the slopes of Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors, are denoted by the River Plym, Spanish Lake and Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally accepted as the oldest warren on Dartmoor, although recently doubt has been expressed concerning its medieval origins. It is however known that the warren existed by 1651 when it was occupied by John Hamblin, a skinner from Plymouth. The warren appears to have remained in constant use from this time until the first half of the 20th century. At least 24 pillow mounds survive within the monument and most of these survive as flat-topped, sub-rectangular mounds of soil and stone surrounded by the ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. The mounds vary in length between 10.5m and 190m, with the average being 30.5m. Their widths vary between 3.5m and 8m, with the average being 5.66m. The heights of the mounds vary between 0.5m and 1.5m, with the average being 0.93m. All of the mounds are surrounded by a visible ditch and these vary in depth between 0.1m and 0.7m with the average being 0.28m. Scattered throughout the part of the warren lying within the monument are at least 15 vermin traps. Vermin approaching their quarry tend to seek a route that provides visual cover and the purpose of a trap was to funnel predators along ditches or beside walls to a central point where they could be trapped. Fourteen of the traps were constructed against or across earlier field boundaries or leat banks and were clearly intended to entrap the vermin following these artificial barriers. The traps survive as `X'- or `V'-shaped lengths of walling leading to a trapping area in which a stone box was originally placed. Within the warren at least 17 gullies, some of which are closely associated with pillow mounds, are visible. These gullies generally survive as shallow, relatively steep-sided hollows with a width of less than 1m, and are associated with a low bank which represents the material upcast during their construction. In the past these gullies have been seen as drainage ditches. However, the location, shape and alignment of many indicates very clearly that they could not all have had a drainage function. Their close association with vermin traps in several instances suggests that they are more likely to represent animal runs. Gullies such as these could have been excavated to control the movement of vermin. Alluvial streamworks are situated within the valley bottom of the River Plym at two points within the monument. The streamworks include parts of spoil dumps represented by linear banks and hollows which indicate the position of partially backfilled work areas (tyes). The spoil dumps were formed by waste material being thrown systematically downstream into previously worked areas. The alignment and shape of the mounds indicates that exploitation was carried out using only shovels to dispose of the waste gravel and stones. Two named tinworks are recorded in this vicinity, and these are `Trowlsworthy' recorded in 1625 and `Brisworthy/Brissory Meadowe alias Swynowe Wrosell/Brisserie Meadowe alias Syynowe Wrosell/Brightsworthy Mede/Brightsworthy Meade/Brightsworthy Meed' recorded in 1527, 1538, 1589 and 1633. Other remains of post-medieval date include six clearance cairns, a gravel quarry and lengths of leat together with a dam. The cairns are probably relatively recent in date and were probably derived from stone taken from nearby infield. The gravel quarry lies on the edge of the River Plym's floodplain and survives as a 19m long by 4.7m wide irregular shaped hollow. Spoil dumps containing fist sized rounded pebbles lie along the south western edge of the quarry and measure up to 4m wide by 1.2m high. This quarry was probably excavated to collect hardcore for road and track building and maintenance. Finally, in the area north east of Trowlesworthy farmstead is a dam and associated leats. The dam survives as a vertical stone course wall standing up to 1.8m high and its reservoir measures 5m long by 5m wide. The reservoir was filled by an offshoot channel from another leat which collected water from Spanish Lake. Water from the reservoir was carried to Trowlesworthy Warren House where it was used for domestic purposes and also drove a water wheel. A further offshoot channel leading from the service leat may represent an overflow. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State. The road surface of the main track to Trowlesworthy Farm from Cadover Bridge is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 157
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 157
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 159
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 157
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 159
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 159
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 431
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 431
Price, D G, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Site and Settlement at Trowlesworthy Warren, , Vol. 109, (1977), 43
Price, D G, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Site and Settlement at Trowlesworthy Warren, , Vol. 109, (1977), 42
Price, D G, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Site and Settlement at Trowlesworthy Warren, , Vol. 109, (1977), 42
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE106, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE107, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE108,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE111,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE240, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE242, (1972)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE244, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE212, (1972)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE361, (1987)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE56,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE57, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56SE87, (1986)
Gerrard, G.A.M., The Early Cornish Tin Industry: An Arch. & Historical Survey, 1986, Unpubl. PhD thesis, St David's, Wales
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)
National Archaeological Record, SX56SE19,
National Archaeological Record, SX56SE66,
PWDRO/72/1034, (1625)
PWDRO/72/990/15,21,22,66,
Robertson, J G, The Archaeology of the Upper Plym Valley, 1994, Unpub. Ph.D. Thesis (Edinburgh)
Robertson, J G, The Archaeology of the Upper Plym, 1991, Unpub. Ph.D. Thesis (Edinburgh)
Robertson, J G, The Archaeology of the Upper Plym, 1991, Unpub. Ph.D. Thesis (Edinburgh)
Robertson, J G, The Archaeology of the Upper Plym, 1991, Unpub. Ph.D. Thesis (Edinburgh)
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

National Grid Reference: SX 56866 64845

Map

Map
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