Medieval farmstead and field system at Warren Barn, 500m south and 400m south west of West Soar


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Medieval farmstead and field system at Warren Barn, 500m south and 400m south west of West Soar
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 11:41:28.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 70107 37279, SX 70174 37011

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 slight stock erosion, the medieval farmstead and its associated field system at Warren Barn survive well, representing the dispersed settlements that characterise this sub-province. Their earthworks and walls will contain stratified and environmental deposits relating to their construction and use in the local landscape. The ruined walls of a 19th century shippon are important to the understanding of later use of the site, while the hut circle and pound provide a time depth extending back into the Bronze Age.


This monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, is located on the north and south sides of a shallow combe, on coastal heathland. It includes a medieval farmstead and parts of its surrounding field system, a medieval pillow mound, and a 19th century shippon. An earlier hut circle and associated pound lie on the south side of the scheduling, from where there are dramatic views along the coast. The southern part of the monument, in the first area of protection, contains earthwork remains of a farmstead, located around a spring, with a stream running out to the south west. A rectangular enclosure measuring 35m from north west to south east and 40m from north east to south west, is partly enclosed by low earth and stone banks, but is open on its north east side. Two small rectangular outbuildings lie on the south east side, while a longhouse with opposed entrances and a separate upper room forms the north west side, its interior sloping down to the west. A narrow paddock with tapering ends lies alongside the south east side of the enclosure, while terraces of an associated field system lead away to the south. A large rectangular pillow mound immediately north east of the farmstead on the same alignment, measures 20m long, 10m wide and 2m high with a flattened top. A low bank follows its south east side. Immediately to its south east is Warren Barn, an early 19th century single storey shippon of mortared stone rubble, aligned north to south on a terrace cut into the hillside, and abutting a large rock outcrop at its south end. The associated field system includes an irregular enclosure surrounding the farmstead, with a partly terraced bank of earth and stones 3m wide and up to 1.8m high. Long straight banks abutting this enclosure are slighter in construction and run down the coastal slope to the west and cross the level pasture to the north. Large stones, some set upright edge to edge, are visible in parts of these banks. Some 100m south of the farmstead is a small hut circle measuring 12m diameter with walls 2m wide and 1m high. An ovoid pound 20m long and 12m wide abuts its east side. Constructed of earth and laid stones, these structures are terraced into the hillside at the top of the coastal slope. The northern part of the monument, lying in the second area of protection, contains an area of well-preserved medieval fields of irregular shape, whose banks survive as well-defined earthworks, partly terraced into the sloping ground at the top of the coastal slope. The banks vary from 1.5m to 3m wide and are from 1m to 1.5m high, with occasional evidence for stone construction. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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:


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
NT fieldwork by C Thackeray, Thackeray, C, (1986)


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

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