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Hut circle and field system north west of Saddle Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5339 / 50°32'2"N

Longitude: -3.8888 / 3°53'19"W

OS Eastings: 266237.063795

OS Northings: 72160.434191

OS Grid: SX662721

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.VW7S

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RN.6TQ

Entry Name: Hut circle and field system NW of Saddle Bridge

Scheduled Date: 1 January 1900

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002601

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 795

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Summary

A stone hut circle within part of a coaxial field system, 310m north west of Saddle Bridge.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 November 2015. This 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.

A stone hut circle within part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system situated on northern slopes of Holne Ridge overlooking the River Dart. The stone hut circle survives as a circular interior are measuring up to 7.3m in diameter defined by a coursed rubble wall with some very large stones which measures up to 1m wide and 1.4m high with no clear entrance. On the northern side the wall shows clear signs of having been repaired and additional courses of stones have been added to a height of some 2m. This seems to correspond to reports by Crossing detailing how the hut circle had been re-used by tinners as a tool store. Adjoining the stone hut circle is a reave and a pair of roughly rectangular enclosures defined by banks with some large stones which form part of the extensive Dartmeet coaxial field system. The field system extends far beyond this scheduling. Also to the north west are further archaeological remains connected with the tin industry which are scheduled separately.

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.

Stone hut circles 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 small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

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. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape.

Despite remodelling and re-use by tinners the stone hut circle within part of a coaxial field system 310m north west of Saddle Bridge will demonstrate the links between domestic settlement and the major coaxial field system in which it is situated. The re-use of the stone hut circle as a tinner’s store demonstrates the changing use of structures on the moor through time and shows the importance of the Dartmoor palimpsest as economic, agricultural and domestic activities altered.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993)
Other
PastScape Monument Nos:-443013 and 443125

Source: Historic England

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