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Prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement incorporating a medieval tin miners' cache and medieval shelter 1.285km north-west of Wardbrook Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Hill, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5405 / 50°32'25"N

Longitude: -4.4778 / 4°28'39"W

OS Eastings: 224525.050416

OS Northings: 74119.295852

OS Grid: SX245741

Mapcode National: GBR NF.H7NC

Mapcode Global: FRA 17HM.RBW

Entry Name: Prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement incorporating a medieval tin miners' cache and medieval shelter 1.285km north-west of Wardbrook Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 August 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008848

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15130

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: North Hill

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Linkinhorne

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a small Prehistoric unenclosed settlement comprising two
groups of hut circles linked by a hollowed trackway, situated near other,
broadly contemporary, unenclosed settlements, field systems and boundaries on
the lower western slope of the Langstone Downs on SE Bodmin Moor. One of the
hut circles was later re-used as the site of a medieval tin-miners' cache,
while another contains a small medieval or later shelter.
The settlement contains five stone hut circles, arranged into two groups 62m
apart on a NE-SW axis and linked by a well-defined trackway, visible as a
broad turf-covered trough, up to 6.5m wide and a maximum 0.5m deep along its
shallow `S-shaped' course down the hillside. The hut circles survive with
circular boulder and rubble walls, up to 2m wide and 1m high, around levelled
internal areas ranging from 5m to 10m in diameter. Their walls contain
occasional inner and outer facing slabs, and entrance gaps are visible in two
examples, facing south and SW respectively. One hut circle has a small annexe
formed by a curved rubble wall, 4m long and 1.5m wide, built out from its
northern side. Two of the three large hut circles forming the NE part of the
settlement each have a ditch, up to 2.5m wide and 0.4m deep, outside their
uphill, eastern, halves. A similar but slighter ditch is associated with the
southern hut circle in the SW group. These ditches extend to join the
hollow way linking two parts of the settlement. The southernmost hut circle
also contains the surviving lower courses of a medieval tin miners' cache, a
very small rectangular building of drystone rubble walling, 0.6m wide and
measuring externally 1.75m long NW-SE by 1.75m wide and 0.3m high, with its
SE side left open. Such structures are typical of medieval miners' concealed
stores for ore and equipment. This example reflects the proximity of the
medieval valley-floor streamworkings only 70m to the SW. The largest hut
circle, at the centre of the NE part of the settlement, contains the lower
drystone rubble courses of a small circular structure built against its
south-eastern inner side. This structure has a wall 0.4m wide and 0.3m high
around an internal area 1.5m in diameter, and is typical of medieval and later
herdsmen's shelters.

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

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. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The
stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular
floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts occur
singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by
a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their
longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides
important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming
practices among prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative
of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are
considered worthy of protection.

This unenclosed hut circle settlement on the Langstone Downs has survived well
and displays several unusual features, notably the ditches around some hut
circles and the incorporated hollow way. The proximity of this settlement to
other broadly contemporary settlement sites and field systems demonstrates
well the nature of settlement and land use during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988)
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989)
Other
CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text consulted 1993
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2473 & SX 2474,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1215,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1216.01 - .05,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1216.06,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1217,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1274,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1286.01,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1428,

Source: Historic England

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