Ancient Monuments

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A deserted medieval settlement and post medieval farmstead 510m north east of East Rook Gate

A Scheduled Monument in Cornwood, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4398 / 50°26'23"N

Longitude: -3.9591 / 3°57'32"W

OS Eastings: 260980.379152

OS Northings: 61827.255116

OS Grid: SX609618

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.GNV4

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LW.PFM

Entry Name: A deserted medieval settlement and post medieval farmstead 510m north east of East Rook Gate

Scheduled Date: 12 July 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003196

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 899

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Cornwood

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a deserted medieval settlement and post medieval farmstead situated on the lower south east slopes of Rook Tor to the west of Dendle Green. The medieval settlement survives as up to seven rectangular buildings, thought to be long houses and their ancillary structures, which were subsequently re-used during the post medieval period as a farmhouse with barns all within an almost rectangular enclosure. Most of the buildings are defined by low tumbled walls measuring approximately 2m wide and 0.3m high, although at least two are possibly mortared and one of these has faced stone-built walls with dressed quoins and standing up to 1m high. The buildings vary in size internally from 8m to 22m long, although all are approximately 4m wide. The settlement was occupied for a significant period and earlier long houses have undoubtedly been re-used and adapted as later dwellings and barns connected with this farmstead. There are traces of field banks and hollow ways between the buildings. 'Ford' is mentioned in the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1330 and may relate to this settlement. Buildings here were also mentioned in the Land Tax List of 1781.
Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: DNPA HER:-SX66SW80
PastScape Monument No:-442362

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 provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, 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. Over 130 deserted medieval settlements are recorded on Dartmoor. Many are single abandoned farmsteads but the majority are small hamlets containing between two and six farmhouses. Documentary evidence indicates most were established between the 11th and mid-14th centuries. Many were deserted by the close of the medieval period possibly as a result of the Black Death or climatic changes. Deserted medieval settlements are often visible as close groupings of small buildings, each containing a long house, its ancillary buildings and one or more adjacent small plots which served as kitchen gardens or stock pens. Long houses were the dominant type of farmhouse in upland settlements of south-west England. Rectangular in plan, usually with rubble or boulder outer walls, their long axis orientated down slope, the interiors of long houses were divided into two separate functional areas, an upper domestic room and a lower stock byre. The division between the two was usually provided by a cross passage of timber screens or rubble walling running through the long house, linking opposed openings in the long side walls. Ancillary buildings were generally separated from the farmhouse and served as barns, fuel or equipment stores. Post medieval farmsteads by their nature contain a similar variety of buildings usually centred on a farmhouse and many re-use earlier structures. Despite a covering of trees the deserted medieval settlement and post medieval farmstead 510m north east of East Rook Gate survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use, longevity and eventual abandonment as well as its climatic and landscape context as this changed through time.

Source: Historic England

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