Ancient Monuments

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Deserted medieval settlement and part of its associated field system on Redhill Downs

A Scheduled Monument in St. Neot, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5085 / 50°30'30"N

Longitude: -4.5315 / 4°31'53"W

OS Eastings: 220594.471278

OS Northings: 70693.355059

OS Grid: SX205706

Mapcode National: GBR NB.KCTZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 17DQ.8DJ

Entry Name: Deserted medieval settlement and part of its associated field system on Redhill Downs

Scheduled Date: 15 March 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003074

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 401

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Neot

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Neot

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a deserted medieval settlement and part of its extensive field system, situated on the relatively steep south west-facing slopes of Redhill Downs. The settlement includes up to three medieval longhouses with three ancillary buildings, two smaller structures and some pounds or small garden plots surrounded by contemporary strip fields with ridge and furrow. The longhouses survive as rectangular buildings with coursed walls up to 1.7m wide and 1m high. They range in size from 9m to 12.5m long internally and all are 3m wide. At least two have opposed entrances in the long walls, and two have attached annexes making one of the longhouses T-shaped in plan and all have hood ditches on their upslope sides. The ancillary buildings are all directly associated with the longhouses, although the largest runs along the slope rather than across it. They range in size from 7.4m to 9.7m long and from 2.1m to 3.9m wide internally. One has opposed entrances and two have hood ditches and are exactly parallel to their accompanying longhouses. Further garden plots and small structures defined by low walls are directly associated with the settlement and represent store rooms, tool sheds and other similar features. The ridges of the ridge and furrow survive as earthen banks from 2.4m to 3.2m wide and cover an extensive area.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-435962

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Long houses are one of several distinctive forms of medieval farmhouse.
Rectangular in plan, usually with boulder and rubble outer walls and with their long axis orientated downslope, the interior of long houses was divided into two separate functional areas, an upslope domestic room and a downslope stock byre. The proportions occupied by the domestic and shippon areas vary considerably but the division between the two, and their access, was usually provided by a cross-passage of timber screens or sometimes rubble walling, running transversely through the long house, linking opposed openings in the long side-walls. Excavation within the domestic areas of long houses has revealed stone hearths, cooking pits, benches, postholes for internal fittings and medieval artefacts. Excavation within the shippon areas has revealed stone built drains, usually along the central axis, and paving and edging slabs defining mangers. Long houses may be accompanied by ancillary buildings, separated slightly from the farmhouse itself, or by outshuts, attached to the long house and often extending one end of the structure. These additional structures sometimes served as fuel stores and occasionally contained ovens or corn drying kilns. The earliest known long houses date to the 10th or 11th centuries AD, but they mainly occur during the later 12th to 15th centuries. As the standard type of medieval farmhouse plan in the south-western uplands, they may occur singly or grouped to form villages and may be associated with the various types of contemporary field systems and enclosures. On Bodmin Moor 33 deserted medieval settlements are known to contain long houses. They provide important information on the nature of settlement organisation and farming activity during the medieval period. The deserted medieval settlement and associated field system on Redhill Downs survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, abandonment, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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