Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Pillow mound 530m north east of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of Merrivale Warren

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5599 / 50°33'35"N

Longitude: -4.0416 / 4°2'29"W

OS Eastings: 255489.384419

OS Northings: 75337.837813

OS Grid: SX554753

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.G5PL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FL.791

Entry Name: Pillow mound 530m north east of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of Merrivale Warren

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014654

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24209

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes a pillow mound situated on the gentle west facing slope
of Over Tor overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. This mound forms part
of Merrivale Warren, which includes at least 27 pillow mounds scattered along
the lower slopes of Great Mis Tor, Little Mis Tor and Over Tor. It has been
suggested that many of the pillow mounds within the Merrivale Warren may be of
medieval date because of their unusual oval shape and association with a
nearby medieval settlement. Most of the pillow mounds, including this one, lie
within the Merrivale Newtake, but some lie on open moorland just outside the
intake wall.
This pillow mound survives as an 8m long, 4.8m wide and 1.4m high, flat
topped, oval shaped mound of soil and stone surrounded by the 1.5m wide and
0.5m deep ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. A 2m
square and 0.3m deep hollow in the north eastern side of the mound may be the
result of an early part excavation by an antiquarian who mistook the mound for
a long cairn.

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 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.
Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits
or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places,
known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to
contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept
charge of the warren.
Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the
animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and
10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate
drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were
excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed.
Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a
small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of
ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with
the majority lying in the Plym Valley.
Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such
as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a
ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been
specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in
which the warrener lived.
Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th
century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early
20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together
they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval
exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of
protection.

The pillow mound 530m north east of Merrivale Bridge forms part of the
nationally important Merrivale Warren and contains information relating to
economy and land use as well as the exploitation of rabbits in the Walkham
valley.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 82
Crossing, W, Crossing's Dartmoor Worker, (1992), 114
Linehan, C D, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Deserted Sites and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, , Vol. 10, (1966), 141-2
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-013, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1994)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NE29,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.