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Pillow mound and animal run 830m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House, forming part of Trowlesworthy Warren

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.469 / 50°28'8"N

Longitude: -4.0091 / 4°0'32"W

OS Eastings: 257516.799748

OS Northings: 65168.541151

OS Grid: SX575651

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.0VC0

Mapcode Global: FRA 27HT.7YJ

Entry Name: Pillow mound and animal run 830m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House, forming part of Trowlesworthy Warren

Scheduled Date: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014657

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24241

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes a pillow mound and associated animal run situated on a
gentle north west facing slope overlooking the River Plym. This mound and
animal run form part of Trowlesworthy Warren, which includes around 64 pillow
mounds and 40 vermin traps scattered along the slopes of Little and Great
Trowlesworthy Tors. The boundaries of the warren are denoted by the River
Plym, Spanish Lake and Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally
accepted as the oldest surviving warren on the Moor. Sometime before 1292
Samson de Traylesworthie was granted land for rabbit farming by Baldwin de
Redvers, Earl of Devon. Many years later in 1551, the warren was leased to
William Woollcombe. The warren appears to have remained in constant use until
the first half of the 20th century.
The pillow mound survives as a 15m long, 6.5m wide and 1m high, flat-topped,
oblong shaped mound of soil and stone surrounded by the 2m wide and 0.2m deep
ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. A 10m long,
0.8m wide and 0.3m deep narrow gully leads west from the ditch to merge into a
further hollow which forms part of a series of interconnected similar sized
gullies which lead off westward, eastward and partially surround the mound.
These gullies represent a complex system of animal runs in which rabbits and
vermin could have been trapped.
Other archaeological features surviving in the vicinity of this monument are
the subject of separate schedulings.
This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

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 and animal run 830m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House
form part of the nationally important Trowlesworthy Warren and contain
information relating to the exploitation of rabbits in the Upper Plym valley.
The well preserved and complex animal run surrounding the pillow mound
contains detailed archaeological information concerning the control of rabbits
and vermin. This valley contains the densest concentration of pillow mounds
and other structures associated with rabbit farming on the Moor, and makes an
important contribution to understanding medieval land-use and economy.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 431
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE240, (1985)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1993)
National Archaeological Record, SX56SE66,
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory
Thackray, C., The Upper Plym Valley: The management of an historic landscape, 1994, Archaeological Site Inventory

Source: Historic England

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