Ancient Monuments

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Burial chamber on Blackslade Down

A Scheduled Monument in Widecombe in the Moor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5656 / 50°33'56"N

Longitude: -3.7887 / 3°47'19"W

OS Eastings: 273412.108947

OS Northings: 75510.414888

OS Grid: SX734755

Mapcode National: GBR QF.KQF4

Mapcode Global: FRA 27YK.XDZ

Entry Name: Burial chamber on Blackslade Down

Scheduled Date: 29 August 1956

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003285

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 352

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


Round cairn and cist on Blackslade Down, 380m south-east of Tunhill Rocks.

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 includes a round cairn and cist situated on a Blackslade Down overlooking the valley of the East Webburn River. The cairn survives as a circular stony mound up to 10m in diameter and 0.5m high with a 6.5m diameter stone kerb and part of a second kerb close to the edge of the mound. Within the mound is a rectangular stone lined cist measuring 1m long, 0.7m wide and 0.4m deep, with no capstone. The interior was examined in 1871 by the Parson of Widecombe who found some charcoal and a few fragments of pottery. A low spread mound to the north and east represents spoil removed during the excavation.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.
Despite some antiquarian partial exploration the round cairn with cist on Blackslade Down survives well and contains important internal features like kerbs and a cist. It is situated within a prehistoric coaxial field system close to other cairns and settlements of similar date which form a complex landscape. It will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction, use and landscape context.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume One - The East , (1991), Map 9
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Five - The Second Millennium BC, (1997), 47
PastScape Monument No:- 445126

Source: Historic England

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