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An enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and a round cairn on Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6313 / 50°37'52"N

Longitude: -4.0623 / 4°3'44"W

OS Eastings: 254242.625053

OS Northings: 83313.883841

OS Grid: SX542833

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.9LD7

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CD.R5T

Entry Name: An enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and a round cairn on Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008712

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22249

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes an enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles
and a round cairn situated on the west facing slope of Nattor Down and
Hamlyn's Newtake overlooking the valley of the Willsworthy Brook. The
enclosure boundary includes a 1150m long, 2.5m wide and 0.5m high rubble bank,
with a 55m wide entrance gap midway along its length. The enclosure, of which
only the northern boundary bank forms part of this monument, has minimum
dimensions of 730m east to west by 770m north to south. The size and shape of
the entrance suggests that this enclosure was constructed to hold livestock
driven from the higher moorland and its size reflects the need for substantial
grazing. A smaller enclosure containing seven stone hut circles is attached
to the outer face of the boundary wall at SX54078354. This enclosure is
defined by a boundary bank on three sides, with no earthworks surviving to
indicate the position of the western side of the enclosure, though this may
survive as a buried feature beneath peat deposits. The area enclosed by the
surviving banks measures 60m north to south by a minimum of 60m east to west.
The seven stone hut circles lying within this enclosure are composed of
circular stone and earth banks surrounding an internal area and they are all
terraced into the hillslope. The internal diameters of these huts varies
between 2m and 4.4m with the average being 3.68m. The height of the
surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 0.5m with the average being 0.36m.
A further stone hut circle is attached to the inner face of the long enclosure
boundary wall at SX54248345. The interior of this hut is oval in shape,
measures 3m long by 2m wide and is defined by a 0.9m wide coursed wall
standing up to 0.3m high. Another hut lies within the entrance to the large
enclosure. This structure is composed of a drystone coursed wall measuring 1m
wide and 0.9m high surrounding a 5.5m diameter internal area. The visible
walls are clearly of post-medieval date and probably represent a sheep-fold
constructed on the site of an earlier stone hut circle. Archaeological
deposits and features associated with the hut survive below the ground surface
within the visible structure. Four further huts lie within the large enclosure
in close proximity to the long boundary wall. These are composed of stone and
earth banks surrounding an internal area and are terraced into the hillslope.
Three of the huts are circular in shape and the internal diameters of these
huts vary between 4.2m and 5m. The remaining hut is oval in shape and its
interior measures 2.8m long by 2m wide. The height of all the walls varies
between 0.2m and 0.6m.
The round cairn measures 8m in diameter and 0.8m in height; it lies outside
the large enclosure and 2m from the long boundary bank which deviates from its
alignment to circumvent the mound. This relationship indicates that the cairn
is earlier than the large enclosure of which this boundary bank forms part.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor
there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though
earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or
as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to
accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size
and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their
particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to
other monument classes 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.

In addition to the boundary bank forming part of a large enclosure, thirteen
stone hut circles survive within this monument. 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 roofs 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.
A round cairn situated immediately next to the enclosure boundary wall is also
included within this monument. 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.
The enclosure boundary wall, thirteen stone hut circles and round cairn on
Nattor Down and Hamlyn's Newtake survive well within an area containing a
number of broadly contemporary settlements, field systems and funerary
monuments. The site contains archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the chronological development of the monument, the
economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived and, as such,
provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the
west side of the Moor. The earthwork evidence indicates that at least some of
the monument remains buried beneath peat which will have provided a valuable
protective covering.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 99
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW034,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58SW28,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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