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Prehistoric and medieval settlements and their field systems at Hound Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Manaton, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5953 / 50°35'43"N

Longitude: -3.7747 / 3°46'28"W

OS Eastings: 274488.209231

OS Northings: 78792.398062

OS Grid: SX744787

Mapcode National: GBR QG.PVD8

Mapcode Global: FRA 27ZH.H82

Entry Name: Prehistoric and medieval settlements and their field systems at Hound Tor

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1966

Last Amended: 16 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016255

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28786

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Manaton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Manaton St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a partly enclosed stone hut circle settlement,
associated field system, two medieval settlements and their fields together
with post medieval cairnfields, ridge and furrow and shelters situated on the
upper slopes of Hound Tor overlooking the valley of the Becka Brook.
The partly enclosed stone hut circle settlement includes at least eight huts
and two enclosures. Lying south of the settlement is an extensive field system
including three major fields and an enclosure. The medieval hamlet of
Houndtor, which is in the Care of the Secretary of State, includes four
longhouses, one of which was converted into a barn towards the end of the
settlement's life. Other buildings include three corn driers and four barns.
The settlement was excavated during the 1960s and this work confirmed that it
was abandoned in the mid-14th century. The fields surrounding the settlement
are irregular in shape and appear to be the result of several phases of
unorganised expansion and contraction.
The medieval farmstead lies to the NNW of the hamlet and survives as a single
longhouse, together with a barn and corn drier. An earlier stone hut circle
was partly demolished to make room for the barn, whilst another hut appears to
have been adapted and reused as an ancillary building. A number of irregular
shaped fields lie in close proximity to the farmstead and many of these
contain lynchets.
After the settlements were abandoned in the mid-14th century the fields may
have continued to be cultivated. Certainly in the post-medieval period
continued interest in the area is witnessed by extensive areas of narrow ridge
and furrow. Several groups of clearance cairns may also date to this time. In
the area south of Greator Rocks, three shelters built against medieval
boundary banks are probably also of post medieval date.
The area of Greator Rocks itself is totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the extensive south-west Peninsula sub-Province of the
Northern and Western Province, an area climatically, culturally and physically
distinct from the rest of England. It includes varying terrains, from the
granite uplands, through rolling dissected plateaux to fertile clay lowlands
in the east. While nucleated settlements are present, notably in the Devon
Lowlands and throughout the South Hams, many originated as small towns, and a
high proportion may be of later date. Excluding only the moorland masses, the
sub-Province is characterised by medium and high densities of dispersed
settlements; indeed, some of the former industrial areas had densities as high
as any in the country.
The Dartmoor local region is a high, undulating moorland scenically and
climatically distinct. The inner core, now treeless, is the ancient `Forest of
Dartmoor', while an outer ring of commons provides grazing for a number of
communities outside the Forest. Almost devoid of nucleated settlement, the
region has extremely low densities of dispersed settlement. Scattered
farmsteads and hamlets with irregular enclosed fields appear in peripheral
valleys, while above the present head-dyke are numerous traces of abandoned
settlements and fields.

In addition to the considerable evidence relating to the exploitation of
this area during the medieval period, further information concerning earlier
prehistoric settlement and land division survives. The prehistoric settlement
has seen some damage as a result of disturbance during later periods, but
despite this, enough remains to illustrate the character of the earliest
visible settlements and fields. Although no longer permanently settled during
the post medieval period, the monument continued to be intensively used and a
number of cairnfields, shelters and extensive areas of ridge and furrow
demonstrate the continuing agricultural role of this diverse archaeological
landscape.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 51
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 52
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 55
Newman, P, Probert, S, Riley, H, Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon, (1994)
Newman, P, Probert, S, Riley, H, Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon, (1994)
Newman, P, Probert, S, Riley, H, Houndtor Down, Manaton, Devon, (1994)
Beresford, G, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Three Deserted Medieval Settlements On Dartmoor: Etc, (1979), 98-158
Beresford, G, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Three Deserted Medieval Settlements On Dartmoor: Etc, (1979), 98-158
Other
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1995)

Source: Historic England

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