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Grimspound, a partially enclosed prehistoric settlement with field system and two post-medieval caches between Hookney Tor and Hameldown Tor

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6131 / 50°36'47"N

Longitude: -3.8377 / 3°50'15"W

OS Eastings: 270074.104642

OS Northings: 80876.437004

OS Grid: SX700808

Mapcode National: GBR QC.2PWC

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VG.2P6

Entry Name: Grimspound, a partially enclosed prehistoric settlement with field system and two post-medieval caches between Hookney Tor and Hameldown Tor

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Last Amended: 7 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014667

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22212

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Manaton St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes a partly enclosed stone hut circle settlement and field
system and two post-medieval caches situated below the crest of a saddle
between Hameldown Tor and Hookney Tor overlooking the valley of the West
Webburn River. The enclosure, which is known as Grimspound, survives as a
stone and earth wall measuring between 2.5m and 3.5m wide, standing up to
1.25m high, surrounding an internal ovoid area of 1.45ha, containing at least
24 stone hut circles, several lynchets and rubble banks. The original
enclosure entrance cuts through the south eastern side of the surrounding wall
and survives as a 2m wide gap flanked by walls standing up to 2m high. The
northern side wall is a continuous face formed by two massive edge set slabs,
with a boulder balanced on top and coursed walling of smaller stones to each
side of the slabs. The southern face survives as large horizontally laid
slabs. The entrance was reconstructed following an excavation by the Dartmoor
Exploration Committee in 1894. The ground within the entrance passage and the
area immediately outside is roughly paved. The 1894 excavations carried out
within the entrance revealed three steps in the paving leading down to the
lower interior. Two other breaches in the enclosure wall are probably not
original features and instead relate to the bridle path which cuts through the
enclosure.
The enclosure appears to have been sited to take advantage of the Grim's Lake
stream which flows through the northern part of the enclosure and which was
allowed access through a purpose built culvert.
Within the enclosure, 24 stone hut circles are visible and include banks of
stone and earth each surrounding a circular or oval internal area. These may
be later in date than the enclosure. Twenty of the stone circles are circular
in shape and their internal diameter varies between 2m and 5m with the average
being 3.17m. The remaining huts are oval in shape and their internal
dimensions varies between 4.9m and 2.8m long by 4.2m and 2m wide. The height
of all the surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 0.9m with the average
being 0.57m. Sixteen of the huts were partly excavated by the Dartmoor
Exploration Committee in 1894. This work revealed a variety of features,
structures and artefacts including: porches; doorways; raised benches; paved
floors; hearths; cooking holes; charcoal; anvil stones; pottery; flint flakes;
flint scrapers and cooking stones. Following the excavation the huts were
partly restored using the debris removed from the buildings.
In addition to the 24 stone hut circles, low rubble banks defining at least
four small internal paddocks or garden plots survive against the western wall
of the enclosure. Whilst these clearly postdate the enclosure wall, it is
likely that they are contemporary with the settlement. A small number of
lynchets also survive within the enclosure and may represent the remains of
stock control boundaries.
Immediately south east of the enclosure at least nine stone hut circles
survive together with lengths of field boundary wall and distinct areas from
which stone has been cleared. The stone hut circles within this area are all
linked to rubble banks forming part of a field system. Eight of the huts are
circular in shape and their interior's vary between 3.2m and 5.3m in diameter,
with the average being 4.16m. The interior of the remaining building is oval,
measures 3m long by 2.5m wide and is surrounded by a 1.3m wide wall standing
up to 0.5m high. One hut has a visible doorway and two are conjoined. The
boundary banks linking the hut circles survive as rubble banks averaging 1.2m
wide and 0.4m high. Together they form at least four discrete partly enclosed
areas or fields. In addition to those areas defined by the rubble banks there
are a number of areas from which surface stone has been cleared, presumably to
facilitate cultivation.
Field evidence for reuse of the settlement is provided by two small caches.
The first is built against the inner face of the south western circuit of the
enclosure wall and survives as a 1.5m wide and 0.4m high drystone wall on
three sides, the fourth side being formed by the enclosure wall. The interior
of the structure is rectangular in shape and measures 1.3m long by 1.2m wide.
The second cache is built within the eastern length of the enclosure wall and
survives as a 1.4m long, 1.1m wide and 1.3m deep oval shaped hollow created by
removing stones from the core of the enclosure wall. The size of these
structures suggests that they were probably used for storage purposes rather
than as 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

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. 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
roof 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.

Grimspound prehistoric enclosed settlement survives well and is the most
visited of all archaeological monuments on the Moor. The excavations carried
out at Grimspound by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1894, represent the
starting point of the first concerted academic attempt to examine Dartmoor's
archaeology. These excavations, however, were only partial and therefore
archaeological and environmental information still survives. The stone hut
circles, field system and clearance areas lying outside the enclosure survive
comparatively well and form an integral part of this prehistoric settlement.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991), 4
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991), 3-6
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Pattison, P et al, Grimspound, Manaton Parish, West Devon District, Devon, (1991)
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 109,111
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 110-111
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 109
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 110
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 111-114
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 108
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 109
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 111,113
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 110-111
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 111
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 112,114
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 110
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 112-114
Baring Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Exploration Of Grimspound, , Vol. 26, (1894), 111,115
Baring-Gould, S et al, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The wall of Grimspound, , Vol. 27, (1895), 82-3
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SW49-05, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW11, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW48-18, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-04, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-06, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-07, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-08, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-09, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-10, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-11, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-12, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-15, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-16, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-17, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-19, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-20, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-21, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-23, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-25, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-26, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX78SW49-27, (1992)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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