Enclosure on Cator Common, 400m ESE of Riddon Brake

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021427

Date first listed: 11-Jul-2007

Map

Ordnance survey map of Enclosure on Cator Common, 400m ESE of Riddon Brake
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 67292 77644

Summary

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 provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major 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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite some historic robbing, the enclosure on Cator Common, 400m ESE of Riddon Brake survives comparatively well and the use of particularly substantial orthostats in its construction reflects its importance within a special and particularly well preserved archaeological landscape. The substantial nature of the enclosure suggests that it may have played an important role in ritual practises on prehistoric Dartmoor, but if built for domestic purposes only, its unusual construction reflects its special position in the prehistoric society of this area.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an oval enclosure situated on a small hill overlooking the Walla Brook. The enclosure survives as a 65m long by 52m wide shaped area denoted by a rubble bank measuring up to 3m wide from which at least 21 large edge set orthostats protrude. The substantial size of these orthostats may indicate that the enclosure served a function beyond the usual domestic one. The monument may therefore represent the site of a ritual enclosure, examples of which have been identified elsewhere on Dartmoor. A circular arrangement of stones within the southern part of the enclosure may be the site of a ring cairn or hut circle. This enclosure was first recognised as early as 1750 by the antiquarian Dean Milles who described it in some detail.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 36053

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 137-8

End of official listing