Ancient Monuments

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Foale's Arrishes, huts and fields, Blackslade Down

A Scheduled Monument in Widecombe in the Moor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5699 / 50°34'11"N

Longitude: -3.7844 / 3°47'3"W

OS Eastings: 273730.978067

OS Northings: 75976.697623

OS Grid: SX737759

Mapcode National: GBR QF.KKJ0

Mapcode Global: FRA 27YK.KGN

Entry Name: Foale's Arrishes, huts and fields, Blackslade Down

Scheduled Date: 13 May 1952

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003283

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 262

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Widecombe-in-the-Moor St Pancras

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Prehistoric settlement, enclosures and field system at Foale's Arrishes.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 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.

This monument known as Foales Arrishes includes a stone hut circle settlement with enclosures standing within coaxial fields situated on the gentle south-east facing slopes of Pil and Top Tors. The monument is partly overlain by a post-medieval field. The settlement includes at least eight dispersed stone hut circles associated with earlier and later coaxial fields. The earliest enclosures survive within the southern part of the monument as low rubble banks set on a different alignment to the later coaxial fields. The coaxial field system includes at least six fields arranged on a single prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. The coaxial fields form a small part of the Rippon Tor coaxial field system, some of which is the subject of separate schedulings. The stone hut circles survive as circular walls surrounding an internal area and their internal diameters range between 5.5m and 9.5m. All eight buildings were excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896 and their work revealed paved flooring and cooking holes, together with rubbing stones, flints, pottery and charcoal.

Further archaeological remains including coaxial fields, prehistoric settlements and cairns survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some are separately designated whilst others 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. Stone hut circles and hut 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; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. 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. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite partial excavation, the prehistoric settlement, enclosures and field system at Foale's Arrishes survive very well and are amongst the most visually impressive on the moor. The field system in particular is well preserved and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to occupation and use of this area during the prehistoric period. This monument represents a small part of the largest coaxial field system on Dartmoor. The evidence for pre-coaxial field enclosures is particularly significant and enhances the importance of the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume One - The East , (1991), 57-59
PastScape Monument No: 445116

Source: Historic England

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