Ancient Monuments

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Settlement west of Holwell Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Manaton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5842 / 50°35'3"N

Longitude: -3.769 / 3°46'8"W

OS Eastings: 274855.971661

OS Northings: 77549.444619

OS Grid: SX748775

Mapcode National: GBR QG.QPGB

Mapcode Global: FRA 27ZJ.CFX

Entry Name: Settlement W of Holwell Tor

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002529

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 450

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Manaton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ilsington St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


An unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and enclosure with a medieval farmstead lying within part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system, 140m south west of Holwell Tor.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 4 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a prehistoric unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and enclosure, and a medieval farmstead lying within part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system situated to the south west of Holwell Tor on Haytor Down. The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement includes up to three stone hut circles which are connected to rectangular enclosures which form part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system by a series of banks. The huts vary in size internally from 6.3m to 7.4m in diameter and are defined by rubble built walls measuring up to 1.3m wide and 0.7m high. To the north east is an oval enclosure which measures 28m long by 26.5m wide internally and is constructed from coursed rubble built walls measuring up to 2m wide and 1m high.

The medieval farmstead survives as a rectangular two celled building measuring up to 8m long by 3.6m wide internally. To the south east is a drystone semi-circular structure with a central gate and approximately 90m to the north west lies a third rectangular structure which measures 4m long by 3.5m wide internally.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Stone hut circles and stone hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. The huts may occur singly or in s or groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Medieval farmsteads survive as single farmhouses associated with a variety of outbuildings.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and enclosure with a medieval farmstead lying within part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system, 140m south west of Holwell Tor, contains many elements common to the Dartmoor landscape from a wide range of periods and indicates its importance at various times when climatic conditions made farming more viable. As a result it will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, development re-use and landscape context.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
PastScape Monument No:-445108

Source: Historic England

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