Ancient Monuments

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Peat stack platform 650m north-west of Bowhayland Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Hill, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5719 / 50°34'18"N

Longitude: -4.4943 / 4°29'39"W

OS Eastings: 223473.807381

OS Northings: 77649.102082

OS Grid: SX234776

Mapcode National: GBR ND.F9DT

Mapcode Global: FRA 17GK.BX0

Entry Name: Peat stack platform 650m north-west of Bowhayland Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1974

Last Amended: 26 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011881

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15196

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: North Hill

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: North Hill

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a large peat stack platform of medieval to post-medieval
date situated near the northern end of the Watery Marsh peat bog on East Moor
on eastern Bodmin Moor.
The peat stack platform survives with a turf-covered, sub-rectangular central
platform measuring 3.6m NW-SE by 2.25m NE-SW, whose shallow convex surface
rises up to 0.2m above the natural ground level. The central platform is
surrounded by a ditch, 0.75m wide and 0.3m deep, outside which is a largely
turf-covered wall of heaped rubble, up to 1.5m wide, 0.5m high and measuring
externally 8m NW-SE by 6.1m NE-SW.
Beyond this monument a ditched boundary marking the northern limit of medieval
cultivation on this part of East Moor is located 72m to the south, while the
upper end of a post-medieval water-course passes 10m to the west.

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.

Peat stack platforms are the sites where cut peat was stacked after drying and
prior to removal for use off the Moor. Peat stack platforms were constructed
from at least the 14th to the 19th centuries, the tradition surviving in a
very few localities to the mid 20th century. They survive as low grassy
central platforms, usually sub-rectangular but occasionally ovoid or circular,
defined by a shallow ditch and surrounded by a low earthen, or occasionally
rubble, bank. They generally range up to 6m by 4m in external size though rare
examples up to 11m long have been recorded. They usually occur in loose
clusters around the peat sources such as bogs and peat-capped hills, though
some are isolated. Excavations on peat stack platforms have produced fragments
of medieval and later pottery, together with well-preserved old land surfaces
beneath the central platform, rich in environmental evidence, particularly
pollen, due to their disposition on peat soils. Observed relationships with
medieval cultivation ridges, which in some cases cut the edges of the peat
platforms and in others are cut by them, confirm the medieval origin of the
tradition of their construction, related to peat-cutting rights for which
documentary evidence survives for the Cornish moors from the early 14th
century. The peat stacked on these platforms was an important store of fuel
for domestic purposes and is historically recorded as the main fuel employed
by the medieval Cornish tin smelting industry, whose needs had outstripped the
local supplies by the mid 15th century. Over 950 peat stack platforms have
been recorded on Bodmin Moor, with much smaller numbers known on the Lizard
peninsula and on Dartmoor. They are an important surviving element of both the
domestic and industrial economies of the uplands during the medieval and
post-medieval periods. Those examples which survive well and illustrate the
range of forms and situations are considered worthy of protection.

This peat stack platform near Watery Marsh has survived well without any
recorded or visible disturbance. It is unusual in its overall size, its rubble
outer bank and its relative isolation from other platforms. Its buried peat
profile, due to its situation at the edge of the deep peat bog of Watery
Marsh, will retain environmental evidence bearing on the landscape development
of the surrounding area, of importance in understanding the extensive
Prehistoric and medieval monuments which are located there. Its proximity to
the abandoned medieval field systems and the post-medieval water-course
demonstrates well the nature and organisation of land use in this upland marsh
terrain, and its development since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1141,
Consulted 3/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 12091,
Consulted 3/1992, Quinnell, N V/RCHME, 1:2500 AP Supplementary Field Trace for SX 2377,
Mercer, R J, AM7 scheduling description for CO 880, 1972,
Shepherd, P A, FMW report for CO 880, (1982)
Title: 25": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map: Cornwall SX 2377-2477
Source Date: 1952

Source: Historic England

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