Ancient Monuments

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An enclosure and three stone hut circles 550m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5587 / 50°33'31"N

Longitude: -4.0406 / 4°2'26"W

OS Eastings: 255552.456769

OS Northings: 75206.512894

OS Grid: SX555752

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.GCXL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FL.7NJ

Entry Name: An enclosure and three stone hut circles 550m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014671

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24201

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes an enclosure and three stone hut circles forming an
outlying part of a large partly enclosed stone hut circle settlement situated
on the gentle west facing slope of Over Tor overlooking the valley of the
River Walkham. The enclosure is sub circular in shape, measures 38m long by
32m wide and is defined by a 1.8m wide and 0.5m high orthostatic wall faced
by slabs on both sides and infilled with rubble. The enclosure wall links
three stone hut circles which appear to predate the enclosure. The stone hut
circles are composed of stone and earth banks each surrounding a circular
internal area. The interior of the northern hut measures 4.2m diameter and the
surrounding wall is 1.7m wide and 0.5m high. A south facing gap in the wall,
lined by slabs on both sides represents a doorway. The western hut survives as
a 1.7m wide and 0.8m high wall surrounding an 8.4m diameter internal area. A
south facing stone lined gap in this wall represents a doorway. The interior
of the eastern hut measures 3.8m in diameter and the surrounding 1m wide wall
stands up to 0.4m high.
Further stone hut circles and enclosures within the vicinity of this
monument are the subject of other schedulings.

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.

The enclosure and three stone hut circles 550m ENE of Merrivale Bridge survive
well and together with a rich array of nearby features form part of an
archaeological landscape in which the three major periods of human activity on
the Moor are represented. This area is a popular visitor destination and many
of the stone hut circles within the settlement are particularly well preserved
and are regularly used for educational purposes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 73
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-037, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-037-01, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-037-02, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-037-03, (1985)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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